Silvia Yorke knows the devastation that addiction brings to a family first-hand. Photo: Judene Edgar.

Sharing stories of addiction



Silvia Yorke knows first-hand the pain, anguish and guilt that methamphetamine addiction can bring to a family.

“As a mother it’s so hard. When the police come to your door you don’t know what they’re going to tell you – are they arrested, are they dead.”But as a

But as a parent she says you are also judged.

“People don’t treat me as me anymore, they judge me based on my children.”

So, the Richmond mother of six is hoping to find a community solution to a community problem.

Silvia is hosting an information evening next Monday to foster awareness, reflection and action on the drug and alcohol problem in our region.

She says, as a result of underfunding and long waiting-lists, addicts can wait for weeks or even months before getting treatment. Silvia says people need someone to walk with them along the journey of recovery.

“When you’re getting clean, you need to leave the old life behind, but this can be a problem too.”

Silvia says that without any support network, with no friends, and often nowhere to live, it can be too easy to slip back into drug use. She says there’s also no real support for the families of addicts.

“For every addict there are 15 to 20 people affected – parents, children, siblings, friends, but there’s no help for the family.”

Silvia says there is an estimated 1000 addicts in the Nelson region, which means at least 15,000 people in the region are impacted by the effect of drugs and alcohol on a loved-one’s life.

Latest figures from the New Zealand Drug Foundation reveal that 44 per cent of adult New Zealanders have tried illicit drugs and 93 per cent will try alcohol.

While most won’t go on to become addicts, 45,000 New Zealanders are treated for alcohol and drug use every year.

“I’ve seen people lose everything, more than once – their jobs, house, car, family, children,” says Silvia.

“I’ve seen them running for their lives because they’re in debt and wishing to be in prison because it’s safer there.”

But she says arrest is not a solution. They’re doing things because they need the money to feed their addictions.

Eight years ago Silvia says God gave her a vision, and says she’s been working towards achieving it ever since.

The pews are full on a Sunday so Silvia says she’d like to see the seats full on Monday too.

The evening is open to anyone concerned about the impact of drugs and alcohol on our community. Silvia says, to find a solution we need to be on the same page and understand the issues.

The information evening, to be held in the Nelson Girls College auditorium on Monday, September 11, starts at 7pm

There will be first-hand stories from ex-addicts as well as children of addicts, along with information on the extent of the problem.

“This is about making our community stronger and healthier,” says Silvia.