The Crystal Cycle: A woman’s journey through meth addiction

The Crystal Cycle

Nicole entered her twenties with a relatively normal life. She went to university, had a job she enjoyed, and would party with her friends.

She tried crystal meth for the first time at a party, and said it didn’t do much for her at the time.

However, that all changed the next time she tried it.

“Like, April or May of 2012 I did it again and like right away is when I started doing it every day, but I was still working. All my bills were paid, my car payments, my rent and I went to work every day, but [I was] staying up for days,” she said.

This sent Nicole spiraling down the hole of addiction, which has resulted in multiple arrests and stints in jail.

“There’s definitely more people that appear to be using it, and we’re seizing more of it. It seems to be more readily available in the city here,” Cst. David Krieger said.

Krieger has been with the Regina Police Service for 12 years, and is a drug investigator with the integrated organized crime section.

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“I would say that definitely since I was in the property crime section that meth is more readily available. It’s definitely one of the top three, top four drugs in the city here now,” he explained.

Property crime has been on the rise in Regina, with theft up approximately 31 per cent as of July 31. A consistent theme at monthly Board of Police Commissioners meetings has been that meth is a recurring factor in these crimes.

WATCH BELOW: Const. David Krieger is well versed in working cases that involve meth, and shares his insight in how the drug impacts law enforcement.

Regina Police on Meth
Regina Police on Meth

In Saskatoon, the city saw a slight decline in property crime, but methamphetamine trafficking and possession charges are both up.

For some addicts like Nicole, jail isn’t the only correctional program to go through. She spent much of 2013 in Regina Drug Treatment Court.

“Going to jail is the easy way out. It is. Going to drug court is hard,” she said.

Judie Birns is the manager of drug treatment court and said that in 2014, 30 per cent of attendees were addicted to meth. That number rose to 60 per cent the next year. In the current class, 12 of 17 people said meth is a drug of choice.

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“If you go to jail you aren’t really learning anything to change your life,” Birns said.

“You need to make a decision about whether you want to be in jail or you want to change the way you live.”

Drug treatment court has three tracks. First, prove you can stay sober and avoid criminal activity. Second, remove yourself from your old life, and build a new support network. Third, re-enter the community through work or school.

Nicole was able to make it through the program and graduate drug court.

“I was pretty confident that I was going to stay clean, but two days after I graduated I was back using again, like every day, consistently,” she said.

“I thought I was ok. I was going to work and nobody could tell that I was high.”

Nicole continued using and selling meth. She said she got involved with more people she shouldn’t have, a choice that led to her most recent legal situation.
“I got charged with forcible confinement, and I got charged with accessory to help somebody escape the city,” she said.

Nicole’s preliminary hearing is in October.

“This is almost five years of this. I had my life put together before all of this. I had good credit. I had an awesome job, and that’s gone. I have a criminal record now, and I’m possibly going to jail for a long time. That’s an ugly feeling,” she said.

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Nicole’s name has been changed to protect her identity, as she tries to stay sober.

The Crystal Cycle airs Saturday, September 10 at 6:30 on Focus Saskatchewan.