Key Points:

Calls to the national Alcohol Drug Helpline have nearly doubled in the past three years as people are reaching "crisis point" with either personal use or use by loved ones of methamphetamine, or P.

Helpline chief executive Cate Kearney said in 2003 the line received 1245 calls, and last year staff answered 2368 phone calls.

"The rise in calls about methamphetamine has introduced an element of crisis and violence not previously experienced in helpline calls," Ms Kearney said.

"Most are lengthy calls, as acutely distressed callers tell their graphic stories."

Ms Kearney said that most methamphetamine callers, whether calling about themselves or about someone close, were phoning because they had reached crisis point.

"Usually they or the person close to them has spent all their money, is in debt, has been stealing, lost their job or their health, is neglecting their children, is violent, psychotic, has changed personality, is delusional or is destroying the fabric of the family.

"Sometimes all of these things have happened," she said.

"Many of the parents who call tell us about their 30-something children who are or were in highly paid employment. Many parents have given large loans to their children not knowing they were paying for the habit."

Ms Kearney said of the drugs people called to ask for help about, P made up 12 per cent of the service, second to cannabis at 13 per cent.

People phoning asking for advise on alcohol abuse made up the majority of the calls, she said.

- NZPA