Michael Robert Loader was no Mr Big in the drug world.
He manufactured and sold heroin valued at $400,000, but because of his own addiction he lived in squalor.
When he pleaded guilty to the drugs charges in December, Christchurch District Court Judge David Saunders noted that the 43-year-old was in a bad way.
He has done the short drug programme while in custody on remand and his health and outlook has much improved.
His defence counsel, Kerry Cook, said Loader had put on 10 kilograms while in prison.
Loader has now begun a six-year three-month jail term that will likely end with his eventual release into a drug rehabilitation course such as Odyssey House.
He had been arrested in December 2012 when police executed a search warrant at a house in the Christchurch suburb of Shirley.
He was released on bail, and in December 2013 he was arrested again on similar drug manufacture and sale charges when police raided a house in Champion St, Edgeware.
Crown prosecutor Marcus Zintl said that in the meantime, while on bail, Loader had made heroin valued at about $400,000. The earlier offending was said to involve supply of drugs valued at $36,000.
After his second arrest, Loader pleaded guilty to charges of manufacturing heroin, possession of the drug for supply, and supplying or offering it.
Cook pressed Judge Saunders to recognise that although it was a commercial operation, it was at the lower end because of Loader's addiction.
"This is not a man who was getting money to buy fast cars. It was to feed his own addiction."
Judge Saunders said it was a measure of the severity of Loader's drug addiction that at the time of his arrest he was "living in squalor".
His turnover of drugs had been fairly significant. He was spending $900 a day on his habit, but producing heroin "dots" valued at about $1200 a day.
Now that Loader had detoxified in prison, he hoped he was thinking more rationally and saw some promise for the future.
Remaining drug-free in prison would be taken into account as a factor in his eventual parole decision, he said.
After jailing Loader, Judge Saunders thanked Loader's brother and sister for being present at the session. He told them continuing family support was a major factor in assisting people who were working to turn their lives around.
- The Press