We Need To Talk About P

2 October, Spiegeltent
Readers and Writers, HBAF 2017

Methamphetamine, P, an epidemic: the intrigue, the shock, the initial silence of a community unsure what to say or do. This session with Dr Joseph Stone and Amber Logan brought both components of mind and soul, in opening up a necessary conversation around the scientific facts and the social needs of our people.

People of all walks of life came to listen to these two psychologists and health practitioners, wanting to know how to support our people, our communities, our children in and around this P epidemic. From the seasoned to young,  from government workers, education professionals, to concerned citizens, those present felt a call for community-care and for giving people hope. Watching and listening attentively  to the fusion of fact and feeling, it certainly opened up the eyes of this audience member.

Logan opened up eyes to a reality many thought would never happen in our own backyard. Starting with the nitty-gritty of the drug, how it’s been in existence for nearly 100 years, most commonly known in the form of amphetamine tablets, which were used for creating super soldiers in World War II, and how it has reared its head in our homes. I felt incredulous, a sense of personal denial, but fresh statistics stick in my mind: 20% of indigenous youth in the USA have tried P at least once; not too far from the reality here in Hawke’s Bay. The feeling was one of shock.

Engaging interest, and helping us to grasp the issue concretely, Logan brought to light how dopamine overkill damages nerves. Dr Stone, representing a nerve, was to catch small handballs representing certain drugs: one ball was a cigarette, four represented cocaine, while a whole basket represented P.

Dr Stone raised the concept of a treatment to unite us all, talking to the sense of community he felt was lacking in our society; talking to the spirit and about spirit. Weaving his knowledge of the impacts of P on Native American tribes, Stone spoke about community-first solutions, giving those who use – our families and whānau – hope and community-support.

I felt both were speaking to my heart, and the hearts of many others who took time to question and feel. There was a sense of community flourishing in the Spiegeltent. We wanted answers. We cared. Logan and Stone’s call for community solutions to this problem predicated on scientific components was a positive take-away.




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