Drug Addicition: Meth (cont.)

MEMBER QUESTION:
Can you comment on the way Caron handles this addictive drug treatment-wise?

ROSENKER:
What appears to be working at this point, and it has not hit the East to a significant degree as it has in the West, is the team of physicians and other medical staff, long-term recovery with a minimum of 90 to 120 days, intensive family therapy, group therapy, and after-care resources, appears to be having the best effect and greatest impact.

The traditional 30-day treatment and back out into the community appears to be doing nothing more than adding to the relapse rate. Meth addicts need a significant amount of support and more integration of services than other addicts to remain drug free.

MEMBER QUESTION:
I've been clean for over four months, and then a relapse of three days straight. I still have visual effects and auditory effects, though not as much. What can I do to help that?

ROSENKER:
The only way for the audio and visual complications or effects to completely go away is long-term recovery. Repeated use, even after periods of being clean, just creates them all over again and starts the process again. They will eventually go away but it will take months of being in recovery.

Your description points out how addictive this substance is, how unlike it is to other drugs we've seen so far and how intensive the treatment is.

MEMBER QUESTION:
What is the best way to help someone who is addicted to meth?

ROSENKER:
The best way is similar to other drugs -- it is to stop the enabling process by buying them out of negative consequences, by intervening either by a professional interventionist or a physician who is knowledgeable about meth use, interacting with the user when they are clean, sober, not high, the forcing, through negative consequences, if they don't get into recovery and through care and concern, to push them into a recovery program.

What I've not seen effective thus far with meth addicts in treatment is the traditional outpatient. Residential treatment appears to be the best and most effective for meth addicts.

MEMBER QUESTION:
What should parents do to educate kids on this highly addictive drug?

ROSENKER:
No. 1 question of the year -- the most common question regarding any drug or alcohol use out there for a parent.

The best advice I can give is to talk to your kids about not only substance abuse, but their life in general.

Be an "askable" parent; if they can ask you questions at 3, they'll ask you at 9, 15, and 20. If you're an unapproachable parent and are unable to talk about issues and feelings, it raises the risk level of your adolescent to drug use. Keep in mind one of the initial first statements made at the beginning of this by a person saying they used so they didn't have to feel. That is the cornerstone of all addiction -- they don't have to feel the use, or to change the way they feel. So, by talking to kids as a parent about how they feel and helping them process their feelings it discourages and makes them less likely to abuse substances.

That and many other variables contribute to kids not using. Such as families that eat together two to three times per week have significantly less problem with substance abuse. Families where fathers are involved, both emotionally and physically, have a significantly less rate of substance abuse. And so on.

"The most important thing families can do is part of what they're doing today -- get more information, become aware of the issues that are out there, getting help for affected family members and not waiting for them to come to you to say I need help."

MODERATOR:
David, we are almost out of time. Before we wrap things up for today, do you have any final comments for us?

ROSENKER:
With all that was said, including the last comment about parenting, it's important to keep in mind that with drug addiction and the impact on families and the addict themselves, some of the exact causes are still unknown. We know that many things contribute to addiction, such as family history, genetics, many risk factors such as emotional, financial and so on, but we really never can tell where addiction is going to hit and why one person and not another. This makes the whole issue of responsible use and harm reduction to be the most concerning. We don't know who's going to use today and become an addict tomorrow.

The only way to avoid some of the addiction is through abstinence. The most important thing families can do is part of what they're doing today -- get more information, become aware of the issues that are out there, getting help for affected family members and not waiting for them to come to you to say I need help. It's a myth addicts have to ask for help to stop using. Families can push addicts to want to get help through enforcing negative consequences and not enabling addictive behaviors.

Lastly, not only become aware of what the drugs are, what they do and how to intervene, but also be aware of the resources that are in your community for help and utilize them, because this is certainly, as with all the other drugs out there, not a drug we can combat and beat alone.

MODERATOR:
Our thanks to David Rosenker of the Caron Foundation for joining us today. For more information, please visit Caron Foundation online at www.caron.org.



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