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Drug rehab advocates seeing an increase in meth addictions

More than half of people seeking help at Flint Odyssey House in the last six months are battling meth addictions
Published: Feb. 12, 2021 at 7:17 PM EST
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MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) - The Michigan State Police STING narcotics unit seized more methamphetamine in January that it had for the three previous years.

Police say crystal methamphetamine use has skyrocketed and as a result, the number of people needing help has also shot up.

”Heartbreaking. It’s absolutely heartbreaking,” said Denise Terryah, a recovery coach at the Flint Odyssey House.

She has seen the deep dark depths of addiction. The one drug she never used was methamphetamine, but it’s what she’s seeing more and more of -- especially the last six months.

“It’s cheaper. Easier to come by, and if you’re desperate enough you can make it yourself,” Terryah said. “And I was also told by one person the high is quicker and lasts longer.”

She estimates roughly 60% of people seeking help over the past six months are addicted to meth. Unfortunately with meth, there’s no turning back.

“If they’re clients and they leave and they don’t come back for a while, but they usually do,” Terryah said. “It’s sad to say, but they’re completely different people. Completely different. They are not the same person and they never will be.”

The uptick in methamphetamine use has certainly been accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic with isolation, loneliness and depression. But Terryah said -- speaking from firsthand experience with other drugs -- it doesn’t have to be that way.

“There is help out there. I have hope for everybody,” she said. “I understand how they feel. They have no hope. That’s how I was, but there’s hope. you can get better.”

Anyone who is struggling with addiction or knows someone who is can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP. The helpline offers free, confidential information and treatment referrals 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

There’s also the Hope Not Handcuffs program. Participating police agencies link struggling addicts up with an advocate, who connects them with resources and rehabilitation.

This “angel” is trained to handle problems with compassion and respect, rather than judgment or prosecution. There are dozens of Mid-Michigan police agencies already participating.

Since February 2017, Hope Not Handcuffs has helped over 5,200 people.

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