Sunday, December 09, 2007

Meth Addiction: Hope and Horror

Missouri has been ground zero for the proliferation of meth labs and meth addicts in the last few years. If you live here, you probably have a family member or friend whose life has been impacted by meth addiction.

A woman I know recently died of the complications of a long-term meth addiction. She was beautiful and talented and was the envy of everone who knew her - before meth. The first time she tried the drug, she was hooked. Her family eventually deserted her, and her decline and eventual death from the effects of the addiction was a sad and lonely time.

Another friend has a son who is a meth addict. His daughter recoils when he enters the room. She is being raised by her grandparents, due to neglect by this man and his wife who is also addicted.

Tonight, 60 Minutes presented a segment on the Prometa treatment for addiction. I recently met a young couple who have received this treatment about six months ago. At first, I didn't believe that they were telling me the truth. This couple just did not look or act like meth addicts. They assured me that if I had met them a year earlier, I would not believe they were the same persons. They lost their home and children, and were basically on the skids. Their family heard about the Prometa treatment and scraped together the $15,000 to send them to Texas to undergo the treatment. Miracle of miracles, it has worked for them. According to them, it immediately relieved the craving for meth. They will be in therapy for a long time, and will probably attend 12-step meetings from now forward. But they have been given a chance for recovery due to Prometa treatment.

The 60 Minutes piece was more negative than positive about Prometa, interviewing just one addict who had allegedly been helped by the treatment. I'd like to see more coverage about this, pro and con. I know that if I had a family member addicted to meth, I would help get the funds together for them to receive the Prometa treatment.

Now, I'm going to say something nice about Aunt Norma. She recently sponsored legislation to make it harder to buy the over-the-counter medications used as ingredients by meth cooks. There is no reason that these drugs should not be strictly controlled by whatever means necessary. Legitimate purchasers of Sudafed and similar drugs are inconvenienced by having to show ID, and pharmacies are required to track sales and communicate with each other. This is a small price to pay, if it saves even one person from addiction to meth.