She became hooked on P at 14, missed her mother's funeral to get high, tore a girl's piercings out of her face, ran a brothel and ripped off banks for thousands of dollars.

Now 26, a mother of three and studying to be a midwife, former meth addict Natalie Ormsby is campaigning for a rehab centre in the Bay and is speaking at an upcoming meeting on the methamphetamine scene in the Bay, which she says is worsening.

Read more: Editorial: Meth menace fracturing families

"People are naive to how bad it is. How widespread it is. I can go in a mall or cafe and look around and know people who are on it. Now I have kids of my own I am scared because I know what it can do, the danger."


The youngest of nine, brought up in a strict religious family, Ormsby started using meth at 14 when she began dating a gang member.

"He used me to do his drop-offs thinking I was safe because I wouldn't try it, but I did, and once I did I couldn't get enough."

A year after she became addicted, when Ormsby was just 15, her mother died of lung cancer.

In the car on the way to the burial she stopped to score and ended up missing seeing her mother being laid to rest.

To fund an escalating habit she turned to fraud to obtain thousands of dollars, even using her own family's ID.

Once, after a four-day P binge, she broke a girl's arm and ripped the piercings out of her face. Later she had no recollection of what she had done.

Two spells in prison did not curb her drug use. "I didn't care. I would just use again when I got out."

It was only when she had her son, now 8, that she stopped.

"Once I made that decision and had my children, it was easy for me.

"But that is rare. I think most people need help from people who understand.

"Most families are so naive, they wouldn't know if their kid was using or not. I used to sit at the end of the bed chatting to my parents when I was high and they had no idea."

Ormsby is working with local charity Brave Hearts and Ngai Te Rangi, which have been holding seminars in the Bay to raise awareness about methamphetamine.

Ormsby's sister Melissa Ormbsy Heke said it had been "very difficult to watch her go off the rails".

"We tried everything but all the efforts that we did didn't get through to her because of the life she was living and the track she was going down.

"All of the rest of the family are married, going to university, and have had no involvement in this sort of life. She got involved with the wrong people at a young age and became involved with drugs at just 14.

"It just goes to show that this stuff can affect everyone.

"She's come a long way and is getting her life back on track."

Erin Scarlett O'Neill, who founded Brave Hearts after her son - now clean - was addicted to P for 10 years, says the input of people like Natalie Ormsby is important because they can help families going through this.

"Families do not know where to turn."

Recent research on methamphetamine in the Bay found that although services were available, families either did not know how to access them or by the time they sought help they were in such crisis that they couldn't access services quickly enough.

Lack of a residential centre was also an issue.

The research was commissioned by the Breakthrough Forum, a collective of interested parties looking at tackling the growing P problem in the Western Bay.

Its representatives include Ngai Te Rangi and Brave Hearts.

The research was a "scoping exercise" to illustrate the impact of methamphetamine, services use, and associated gaps in information and evidence.