Prince Albert addictions services isn’t sure where the crystal meth in the city is coming from, but they’re positive that usage rates are increasing.
“I don’t know where it’s coming from, where it’s being made, or where it’s being processed, interim addictions services manager Cory Rennie said. “I do know that for anyone who is using it or going to use it, the impact on your body physically, mentally and emotionally is incredible.”
Since crystal meth was first introduced to the city roughly 10 years ago, the user base of the harmful drug has changed significantly.
“Ten years ago when crystal meth came to the community it was more of a middle class population. It was younger people, it was students, that kind of demographic. But this time around it’s more of a transient population.”
Rennie believes the user base has changed because crystal meth is a cheap drug with a long-lasting high.
“It’s a highly addictive drug. The thing unfortunately, when people have little means or the finances to do what they want, they’ll go to this drug. The price and long-lasting nature makes it a highly attractive drug if you have little money to spend.”
Though crystal meth lures users with the offer of a quick, cheap high, the after-effects are some of the most harmful that Rennie has seen.
“As far as drugs go, all illegal drugs are bad for you, but crystal meth is by far the worst.” Crystal meth is often cut with other poisonous substances, according to Rennie. Anything from ammonia to fertilizer can be found in the crystal meth used around the city.”
That makes withdrawal much more difficult to tolerate. “Depending on what was put in the crystal meth, [detox] can have intense and violent psychological impacts, causing all sorts of issues. The withdrawal period is very difficult and needs to be monitored.”
Though crystal meth use is a constant community concern in Prince Albert, Rennie is confident addictions services is up to the task.
“We have councilors available, addiction services has an open access program, and we’ve done a lot of things to get out in the community and be there for folks when they want to talk….we’ve tried really hard to reach those people.
“Detox has done a really good job at helping individuals go through their crystal meth withdrawals.”
– With files from Nigel Maxwell