The Carillon - ONLINE EDITION
By: Dave Baxter
Posted: 02/6/2018 10:00 AM
A local addictions counsellor says that as crystal meth use and addiction continue to affect people of all ages throughout Manitoba, he has watched first-hand as the drug has created issues, struggles and addictions for youth in the Southeast.
Daniel Dacombe works as an addictions counsellor for the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (AFM) working specifically with youth in the Hanover School Division.
He said he knows meth use is on the rise in Manitoba, and he has seen it on the rise among the youth he serves.
"I have seen a noticeable increase in meth use among my clients over the last two years," Dacombe said.
He said factors for the increase include easy availability and cheap cost.
"Meth is very cheap, and it doesn’t cost a lot to make it," Dacombe said. "The profit margins can be very high for those who are selling it because you can make doses for relatively little compared to other drugs, and the high lasts a long time."
With highs that can last up to 12 hours, Dacombe says that the drug’s potency heightens addiction issues.
"It impacts the reward pathway in the brain very strongly and the reward pathway is where addictions come from because it’s the part of the brain that says, ‘That was awesome I want to do that again.’"
The short and long-term effects can be devastating.
"There can be tremendous cumulative damage to the brain and to the body," Dacombe said.
"It is tremendously damaging to the internal organs, damaging to the heart and to the brain, and even when someone stops using there can be months of recovery before they even start to feel normal again."
He added that some can also pay for meth use and addictions with their lives. The drug, in some cases, can lead to fatal overdoses.
Along with physical damage, Dacombe said meth can greatly affect mental health.
"It is something that can cause mental health issues such as anxiety, psychoses, psychotic episodes paranoia, and in many cases an inability to sleep.
"Someone who continuously doses can end up staying awake for days at a time."
Although Dacombe said meth use is on the rise among his clients it is still a "relatively small number" compared to the number of students coming to him with other addictions issues including addictions to marijuana and alcohol.
"There has definitely been an increase, but even though I have had a larger number of students coming to see me with meth as one of the substances, that is still the minority of the youth I see," he said.
Dacombe said the main thing he wants students, and all residents to now know, is what the first step should be if they feel they need help with any addictions issue or believe someone they know may be struggling and need help.
"Many who need help in Manitoba whether it is themselves, or their friends or family members often don’t even know where the first point of contact can be," Dacombe said.
Dacombe suggests anyone needing assistance for themselves for others should start by calling the province-wide addictions helpline at 1-855-662-6605.
"The hotline can be used as that first point of contact and it serves as the gateway to all the services," Dacombe said.
"What you will get if you call is a person on the other end that can talk things through with you and help you figure out what the most appropriate resources would be."
Anyone looking to speak to someone regarding an addictions issues can also call the Steinbach AFM office at 204-326-7724, or call Dacombe directly at 204-392-3382.
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