Watch: 'I used my kids to get money' - Northland woman bravely shares story of drug addiction, and new life at rehab centre

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In a remote area in the Far North near Cape Reinga sits Hope House. It's a humble rehabilitation centre with few frills, but it lives up to its name.

Seany Snowden owes her life to Faye and Tim Murray, who run Hope House in the Far North.
Source: 1 NEWS

It's run by former drug addicts, Faye and Tim Murray. The couple have led a life of gangs and violence in a world they say not even their toughest clients could imagine.

Tim says he used to make Jake the Muss look like a puppy dog. But they've been clean for 18 years and believe they're well-placed to encourage others to do the same.

The couple moved home to Ngataki four years ago and say they've never seen communities terrorised as much by P as in the Far North. Tim even calls Kaitaia "Fry-taia".

"We have more P-addicts up here than we have doing marijuana and that's a huge concern," says Faye.

Northland has just 40 drug rehab beds, and they all full.
Source: 1 NEWS

The Murray's have a number of modest cabins where addicts come and stay for six to 12 months to get clean. At the moment they're at full capacity and say they have a huge waiting list.

"We have a lot more people coming here through the Courts and Corrections that are needing treatment but we just don’t have enough beds," says Faye.

Hope House runs daily programmes but Faye says residential treatment works best.

"If you can do it at home here in the Far North then good on you but because we're such a close knit small community the chances of being able to keep yourself away from the influences are very small."

Northland has just 40 drug rehabilitation beds run by the Northland District Health Board and private providers. Like Hope House, they're all full and all have waiting lists.

Twenty-four year old Seany Snowden's been a live-in patient at Hope House for six months. The self-confessed P-addict checked herself in so she could get clean and get her two young children back.

"That's what brought me here, I had hit rock bottom, I lost my kids I lost my family and that really hurt," Seany said.

DHB figures show there's been a 23 per cent increase in the number of Northlanders seeking treatment for P addiction over the last three years.

Seany lives in Kaitaia and says meth's as easy to get as buying takeaways – it just costs a little more.

"You can find it anywhere any time, it's an easier drug to find than marijuana. I got it off my mates or who I thought were my mates but they just used me, they'd just take and take until I had nothing left to give and then when I was in need there was no one there but my parents."

Seany says some of those "mates" who sold her P were in gangs, others weren't. She says a small bag of P costs $100 but she would indulge her craving.

"We used to spend in a week’s time maybe about a grand a week and then live off anyone that would help us food-wise with the necessities of living. I used to go to my mums, take my kids to my mums, so they could eat."

Seany learnt her kids, both under the age of five, were her parents' weak spot.

"I used to make up lies to my mum and my dad saying I needed money so they used to give me for their moko. I used my kids to get money from them and then I'd go oh yip I got 50 more dollars and that's a bag."

Eventually Seany's parents took her children and Seany made the decision to get help.

"This place really saved my life. I can honestly say that if it wasn't for Tim and Faye, I’d be six feet under or in jail.

"Coming here has made me all confident, my wairua picked up a hell of a lot and my mana is just over the top, I’m really blessed to have this opportunity," says Seany.

Faye and Tim Murray say 80 percent of their clients have children and if inter-generational dependence is to be stopped, they need more support.

The Northland District Health Board is creating another seven beds at its rehabilitation facility in Dargaville but admits more funding would help. The Government's waiting for the inquiry into Metal Health and Addiction to report back in October.

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