Helping People Addicted to Methamphetamine: A Creative New Approach for Families and Communities

Helping People Addicted to Methamphetamine: A Creative New Approach for Families and Communities

Helping People Addicted to Methamphetamine: A Creative New Approach for Families and Communities

Helping People Addicted to Methamphetamine: A Creative New Approach for Families and Communities

Synopsis

Methamphetamine, made easily in clandestine labs from over-the-counter ingredients, can cause depression, rapid tooth decay, psychosis, sensations of flesh crawling with bugs, paranoia, skin lesions, and kidney damage. Still, use has spread nationwide. In this work, two experts on methamphetamine addiction and recovery explain why this drug has such a physical, psychological, and social draw for addicts, despite all the damage it causes. Vignettes from addicts take us inside the subculture of meth users. Authors Taylor and Covey explain why this drug and its addiction is different from other illicit drugs and why, therefore, the treatment needs to be specifically tailored in order to be effective.

Stephan Jenkins, singer for the band Third Eye Blind, says methamphetamine makes you feel bright and shiny, but it also makes you pathetically and relentlessly self-destructive, so much so that you will do unconscionable things to feel bright and shiny again. This drug, made easily in clandestine labs from over-the-counter ingredients, can also cause depression, rapid tooth decay, psychosis, sensations of flesh crawling with bugs, paranoia, skin lesions, and kidney damage. Still, use has spread nationwide from California to Maine, with known addictions now highest in the West, Midwest, and South. Treatment admissions for methamphetamine addictions have increased more than fivefold in the last decade, with a federal report in 2006 showing 136,000 known cases. Meth is particularly addictive to women because it causes rapid weight loss. The results, as shown in recent cover stories in "Newsweek, National Geographic," and "USA Today," are pain for far more than the abuser. Meth addiction also ravages life for spouses, children, and other family members, as well as communities.

In this work, two experts on methamphetamine addiction and recovery explain why this drug has such a physical, psychological, and social draw for addicts despite all the damage it causes. Vignettes from addicts let us see inside the subculture of meth users. Authors Taylor and Covey explain why this drug and its addiction is different from other illicit drugs, and therefore why the treatment needs to be specifically tailored in order to be effective. This book, focused only on the addiction avenues and paths to recovery, is a perfect companion to Covey's earlier book, "The Metehamphetamine Crisis" (Praeger, 2006), which details the emergence and history of this drug use in the United States, as well as the social and community effects, and criminal justice approaches, successes, and failures to date. This book at hand will appeal to meth abusers, their families, and professionals trying to aid recovery from this new scourge, including substance abuse treatment providers, health professionals, psychologists, school personnel, and criminal justice staff.

Excerpt

Methamphetamine has impacted families and communities in such a way that for the past 10 years treatment programs and judicial systems have struggled with how to intervene and to provide the right kind of rehabilitative help. While not entirely different from other substances of abuse, meth is unique enough to challenge these systems to come up with the most effective ways of helping people not only stop using the drug but also stop hanging around other people who continue to use it. At one point the most devastating cases of communities being impacted by meth were limited to the western regions of the nation. That has changed, and with the exception of only the eastern seaboard states, really, meth has penetrated every community, both urban and rural, and has crossed almost all ethno-and demographic boundaries.

Treatment for meth addiction must involve the broad sober community in which the addict lives; otherwise it becomes almost impossible for people who are trying to stop using meth to separate themselves from groups of people who use it. What this book provides is the description of a creative new approach to treating meth addiction that can be used to guide a true community-based intervention. The key to this intervention is the practice of carving out a niche within the sober community so that people recovering from meth have a place to go as well as the necessary support to break ties with other meth users.

Families and community leaders are invited to consider the principles and practices described in the pages of this book as they develop treatment plans and strategies for individual people addicted to meth as well as broad groups of people accessed through social service and judicial referral systems. We know for certain that there is neither a magic potion nor a silver bullet that . . .

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