Methamphetamine addicts face diminishing treatment options - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Methamphetamine addicts face diminishing treatment options

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By Robin Jedlicka - bio | email

January 27, 2009

Lowndes County, GA (WALB) - Methamphetamine addictions are a growing problem in South Georgia. 

"Methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant," explains Lt. Robert Picotti of the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office.  "It's going to be similar to cocaine, but it's got a more highly addictive property to it."

Sheriffs across South Georgia have seen an increase in meth labs.  "It's something that contributes to a lot of crime in this area because people get addicted and want to get more," says Roz Johnson, Clinical Director of Behavioral Services of South Georgia. 

With budget cuts hurting every state agency, social service workers fear that rehabilitation options for the growing number meth addicts will diminish.  The South Georgia Community Service Board, who operate as Behavioral Health Services of South Georgia, no longer offer any in-patient residential services.

Executive Director Sue Gupton explains why this is a problem, saying, "When you're trying to do out-patient services, and people go back into the same environment they live in everyday, around the friends that they have, it's so very hard for them not to continue using."

Law enforcement agencies worry about treatment services being reduced. "They're going to be on the streets quicker, or not getting the treatment they need at all," says Lt. Picotti.

Despite reductions, social service workers encourage those who need help to seek it. "We hope to keep seeing new consumers. We really enjoy serving everybody in the community that we can, and being a good resource."  

The rise in users of methamphetamines is partly attributed to the recession. It's not uncommon for drug and alcohol use to increase during stressful times.

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