Province and Health District Developing Strategies to Combat Meth
“Crystal meth, I would say, is more of an issue in Moose Jaw than opioids,” said Mary Lee Booth, the local Head of Mental Health and Addictions for the Saskatchewan Health District.
Booth is the local Executive Director for Integrated Community Heath Programs at the Saskatchewan Health District said “it (crystal meth) is definitely a concern and it's on the radar with detox services, probation services, police and EMS.”
The Province is taking crystal meth very seriously and it is part of a task force effort the Saskatchewan Health District is developing. Part of that developing strategy is requesting monthly numbers for people seeking help with detox and it's being watched very closely, Booth said.
Despite getting prepared to launch the new strategy, there are ways to assist yourself, friends, family and others dealing with crystal meth addiction. At the present time, those seeking help may call 306 691-6464 to find help. The help provided includes withdrawal management and maintenance, detox, residential treatment options (outpatient options), drug treatment as well as family support for those addicted. The phone intake line is open Monday to Friday, except on statutory holidays; otherwise call 811.
It needs to be noted that, locally, drug treatment is not done, only detox is. Actual in-patient drug treatment is done in other centres, like Regina. Detox, locally, is also only done from the ages 16 and higher, for all addictions.
“If you are having a situation of a psychotic episode, and it is a medical emergency, the ER (Emergency Room) or Crescent View Clinic is where you should go. For elective services it is not the appropriate place to go,” Booth stated.
For people who need it, detox arrangements can be made by calling Wakamow Manor at 306 694-4030. The service is available for those 16 and older. Arrangements can be made for younger children to enter detox in other communities. Detox for children under 16 is available in Regina.
The intake for detox, treatment and other services through the centralized intake number is a triage system where cases with higher urgency receive attention the quickest. Presently, the intake process can take one to three weeks.
“The old Five Hills Health District was actually meeting the wait time (objectives) of the Province for years. It's a triage methodology. if it is life threatening, they are seen right immediately. If they are unsafe to him or herself or the community it's immediate help. For those with high risk factors, it's within five working days,” Booth stated.
For parents whose 17 year old and younger children won't go into detox or treatment, there is legislation available to help, but that is a “last ditch scenario,” Booth stated. The legislation is called the Youth Drug Detoxification and Stabilization Act and can force anyone 17 and under into detox.
“It's a last case scenario, they are assessed by a doctor as being in high risk and imminent danger. They issue a certificate to put the young person in a detox centre for five days. After five days it's renewed and then they can be kept up to 15 days, with reviews every five days. It's a last ditch scenario; most go voluntarily, they don't want to go to secure detox. It's a chance to clean up and be sober and the mind will be clearer,” Booth stated.
In 2017, only 12 people under 18 ended up in secure detox for all addictions, including meth. The largest number of intakes are for alcohol and cannabis addiction, although meth, in the last two years has made up over 40% of all intakes. The local detox centre was described as “very full", with an 85% occupancy rate.
Meth is also a problem once people are are admitted. Staff at the local detox can “find it very challenging because of crystal meth. The behaviour they see in detox sometimes has an accompanying drug induced psychosis and violence,” she said.
There has been community drug strategy in place for the last 15 years; The Moose Jaw South Central Drug Strategy. It involves the schools, police, probation services and the health region; all of which who have banded together.
The group has kept the community informed, although, “in the last few years it has slowed down, in terms of initiatives,” she said.
Asked about the anecdotal findings, from MJ Independent (which where published our Meth in Moose Jaw series), that many people were unaware of meth being in the city and especially being used by teenagers, Booth said there had been informational nights put on for parents where they could learn to spot drug trends. They were put on in conjunction with the Moose Jaw Police Service.
The nights had good attendance and they “were offered to increase awareness; an opportunity to get involved.”
“If the demand was there, we would be happy to organize one,” Booth said.
Asked what parents can do, Booth said they could speak to their children about drugs.
“They (parents) need to be telling their teenage children to be very careful with what they are experimenting with,” she said.
Sending out a warning or a news letter to parents about meth and other drugs would be up to the schools, Booth said, when asked if this was one route parents could utilize to be kept informed.
For those out there looking for help for themselves or their loved ones to escape from the hell of Meth or other narcotic addictions please contact:
Mental Health and Addiction Services 306 691-6464
The 24 Hour Help Line 811