Hawke's Bay has the second highest rate of methamphetamine use in the country, according to new research.
The study by Massey University found that Hawke's Bay was one of the regions in the North Island that had the worst rates of drug dependency, ranking second for the use of methamphetamine and fifth for cannabis use.
Lead researcher Associate Professor Chris Wilkins said the need for help for substance use problems was highest in the Bay of Plenty, Manawatu/Whanganui and Gisborne/Hawke's Bay.
"Respondents from the upper and central North Island and east coast of the North Island reported higher levels of methamphetamine and cannabis dependency, and a higher need for help to reduce their alcohol and other drug use," he said.
The highest rate of methamphetamine use was in Waikato, with 43 per cent of those who used in the previous six months, closely followed by Gisborne/Hawke's Bay at 42 per cent.
District Investigations manager Detective Inspector Rob Jones said a "disturbing trend" police were seeing was the increasing quantities that appeared readily available through suppliers.
"Money is without doubt the driver of those who supply illicit drugs into our communities. Eastern Police have and will continue to focus on drug supply offending.
"We have been successful in the restraining of hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years utilising the Proceeds of Crime legislation following on from a number of successful prosecutions for the commercial supply of methamphetamine."
Hawke's Bay police made a record methamphetamine bust in September last year after a six-month investigation into a local organised crime ring.
Thirteen people were arrested for high-level drug offending and three kilograms of methamphetamine, with a street value of $2.5 million, was seized, along with $343,000 cash, firearms and other drugs.
The individuals are still before the court, charged with an array of drug offences including supplying methamphetamine, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Detective Inspector Jones said police were heavily focused on reducing harm by working closely with other governmental agencies, the Hawke's Bay District Health Board and community organisations.
"The level of harm is often very difficult to measure and manifests its ways in various forms including being a driver of significant family harm events, dishonesty offending and links to organised crime activity and organised crime groups including gangs."
Hawke's Bay District Health Board's manager of community mental health Justin Lee said there had been an increase in the number of people with problematic use of multiple substances presenting to addiction services.
"Anecdotally it is reported that the availability of meth, in particular, has increased in recent years and there has been a groundswell of community action, including peer support, in response to the issues meth presents to families and neighbourhoods."
Mr Lee said anyone experiencing addiction problems, or who knows someone who is, was encouraged to reach out for help.
If you have concerns about any person who is using or abusing drugs, please contact the 24/7 Drug Alcohol Helpline on 0800 787 797 to speak with a trained counsellor or visit www.alcoholdrughelp.org.nz for information and support.