Breaking the ‘significant increase’ in crystal meth addictions – Saskatoon

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Tracy Muggli, the director of Mental Health and Addiction Services at the Saskatchewan Health Authority, has been working to break the cycle of crystal meth addictions by improving services to users.

The health authority is one of nearly 30 organizations working together in the Safe Community Action Alliance (CSAA). The group has been working since 2017 to improve issues affecting city residents, with the top two being the crystal meth epidemic and the other housing options.


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“Crystal meth is a very addictive drug. It acts on dopamine in the brain, that’s the pleasure point and so people like the high. The other factor is that it’s very cheap,” Muggli said.

Over the last five to six years, the health authority has seen a “wave” of crystal meth. The last influx was back in 2006-07.

“Almost half of the people that present to our services, present as crystal meth users. It used to be around five to ten percent, five to six years ago. That’s a significant increase,” Muggli said.


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Since mid-2018 CSAA has been mapping the client experience of using crystal meth, identifying gaps in their care, and assisting interventions.

“We’re learning that treating people with crystal meth addictions is very difficult. We have to adjust our programming so that people can stay for a longer period of time in treatment,” Muggle said.

She adds that people need time to sleep and recover. Often addicts who come into detox have been up for five or six days straight.


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“One thing we know about crystal meth is that it depletes dopamine levels in your system and that can lead to depression and suicidality.”

“We’ve had to be very flexible in our treatment programs and how we address length of stay.”

“It can take a while to develop a desire to live and improve quality of life.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Saskatchewan and Ottawa agree to spend more on addictions treatment

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The federal and Saskatchewan governments have announced a partnership aimed at helping people struggling with addiction in the province.

The agreement provides more than $5 million in funding from the federal government.

The program will focus on improving access to treatment for people with « substance use disorders, » according to a release on the province’s website.

The money will support initiatives such as recruiting and training more health-care professionals qualified to provide opioid-substitution therapy, as well as training health-care providers to adjust treatment and care plans based on client needs and root causes of addiction, among other things.

The province has already invested $7.4 million to increase access to opioid substitution therapy, according to the release.

Earlier this month, Saskatchewan Health Minister Jim Reiter said there will be more funding for mental health and addictions services in the next budget, especially for more beds and improved wait times.

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