About the book
If Mandy Whyte had listened to the experts her son Hemi would probably be dead or incarcerated.
After years of trying to convince him to get to rehab and after being told by various agencies to back off and wait for him to ask for help she starting researching Hemi's life and advances in the addiction industry to find out what she could to do to help her son, who was now an intravenous crystal meth user, regularly psychotic and facing eviction from his home and a lengthy prison sentence for crimes related to his addiction. Realising he would never ask for help - because he couldn't - she fought to get him involuntarily treated. When he was expelled from two rehabs she 'home rehabbed' him in Indonesia. She is now an advocate for the involuntary and family-led treatment of severe addicts.
This is a book about tenacity and love. It explores the limits of care for drug addicts in New Zealand and Australia and challenges the idea that it’s up to addicts to find their own way to treatment, declaring this approach socially negligent and a violation of human rights. As families, health services and courts try to come to grips with the scourge of crystal meth (P and Ice) that is devastating so many lives, Dancing on a Razor’s Edge is an important contribution for families and treatment providers.
'Every addiction worker in Australasia would do well to read this book for the descriptions of this mother’s determined struggle to do the best for her addicted son, her fraught attempts to access the services she needs, and her criticism of a system that demands people take personal responsibility for their addiction when they are often unable to do so.'
Doug Sellman, Director National Addiction Centre, New Zealand and Professor at the University of Otago