Methamphetamine use is on the rise across the Prairies including in Saskatchewan.
The 2019 Crystal Meth Dialogue, hosted by the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) wellness and community development unit, calls the rise of crystal meth use a crisis in the province.
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Tala Tootoois is speaking at the two-day event about her journey through addiction and recovery. She said her substance abuse was rooted from past emotional trauma.
“You can learn to deal with them and learn that feelings and emotions are not going to kill you,” she said. “But crystal meth will.”
Dwayne Cameron has been working in addictions for 30 years. He said as a substance abuse specialist he’s never seen a drug take hold of a person as quickly as crystal meth.
“Crystal meth it happens in such a fast way,” he explained. “They start using and experimenting for a variety of reasons and all of a sudden their tolerance increases and their life is really out of control very, very quickly.”
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According to Cameron, crystal meth is becoming many people’s drug of choice due to the quick high and low cost.
“It’s all over Saskatchewan,” he said. “I don’t think anyone’s community is immune to it. One of the things that is different is we’re seeing it really hit out in the rural and First Nations communities.”
The Saskatchewan Health Authority’s website states the province spends over $46 million on addiction services annually but addictions counsellor Brent Kruger said it’s not enough.
“There is a need for more treatment centres because the epidemic seems to be out of control,” he said.
Tootoois is advocating for more recovery programs in the province and she wants to see more people able to access them.
“The longer you wait the more you’re affected,” she said. “In the short term and long term in regards to the physical health of your brain, your nervous system your bones, your teeth, your tongue.”
AIDS Saskatoon is in the process of applying for the province’s first safe injection site. Saskatchewan would be the fifth province in Canada to open such a facility if approved.