Meth a growing concern in region

The High Prairie Native Friendship Centre hosted presentations on methamphetamine April 26. Society vice-president Robin Baker was the facilitator and led discussion. Here, she shows a meth pipe.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Ways to combat methamphetamine was the focus of presentations April 26 at the High Prairie Native Friendship Centre.

Three presentations were part of Faces of Meth led by Friendship Centre vice-president Robin Baker.

“We need to have public awareness and education on meth in our communities,” she says.

“We need more services for addictions and mental health.”

Controlling and reducing the use of the illegal and deadly drug is a high priority for the Friendship Centre.

“Meth is a big problem in the region,” interim executive director Kelly Chalifoux says.

Research shows that the problem of meth could be getting worse before it improves and affects local communities.

“It disrupts our community,” Baker says.

“We’re going to see a jump in the crime rate in the region.

“Community leaders need to be aware of meth and act to remove opportunities for activity for the drug.”

Main users of meth are high school and college students, unemployed people in their 20s and 30s, and white-collar workers.

“Shift work is a huge contributor to the use of meth,” Baker says.

Chemicals in batteries and household and industrial cleaners are prime ingredients of meth that are targeted by thieves, she says.

Baker notes that thefts of batteries and chemicals can indicate the products are being used to make meth.

The drug is growing more popular for one main reason.

“Meth is so much cheaper than other drugs,” Baker says.

She says lots of work needs to be done to reduce activity and victims and help for meth users and producers.

“We don’t have enough beds in treatment centres to treat people with meth. We need to come up with after-care plans for addicts.”

Baker says the provincial government has to take steps to reduce long waiting lists for mental health and addictions.

“We need to have more provincial-funded beds for communities,” Baker says.

Other presentations were made by Alberta Health Services and MITAA Detox Centre in High Prairie.

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