Watch: Grandmother caring for 11 grandkids due to P-addicted parents says 'it's an epidemic'

One of many grandparents caring for their grandchildren because the parents are addicted to methamphetamine says it's an epidemic and meth is destroying families.

Meth addiction is being blamed as a key reason older family members are becoming caregivers once again. Source: 1 NEWS

The grandmother, who 1 NEWS called Aroha, cares for 11 grandchildren as their parents are addicted to P.

"It is an epidemic, you know. I look at my own family and initially I used to be 'oh my gosh', the guilt, the guilt of My God, what have we done?" she said.

"Meth destroys the families because the parents are not in control. Arguing, then there's fighting and police, and before I knew it Child, Youth and Family had stepped in."

The drug has always been a reason why children have gone into the care of grandparents, according to the charity group Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.

But in the last three years, it says 1800 new families have reached out for help, and meth is the key reason grandparents are stepping in to raise their grandchildren.

"It doesn't seem to be abating. If anything I think the numbers of families being affected by P use and abuse is worse than ever before," said Kate Bundle of the group.

Oranga Tamariki, or the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, says meth use is just one of the symptoms of wider family dysfunction, not necessarily the main cause, but admits meth is a significant issue.

"It's what then happens, because when parents have a drug addiction be that alcohol, be that meth, be that another substance, they tend to make choices. So they make choices that sometimes aren't in the best interests of the child," said Grainne Moss, Oranga Tamariki chief executive.

The ministry says alcohol is a bigger problem, something the charity disputes, but for those like Aroha, there's no question meth is destroying families.