Thursday, 2 Feb 2023

Support group finds common ground for crystal meth addicts

After seeing a need for more support for crystal meth addictions, the Yorkton Tribal Council Child and Family Services (YTC CFS) started Crystal Clear in Regina.

The program meets every Wednesday and aims to help meth addicts through their recovery.

Rae Shingoose, Member Nation Services YTC CFS program manager, said it was important to start a crystal meth addicts anonymous group because people who wanted support and went to a narcotics or alcoholics anonymous group would find it hard to relate.


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“They would go one time and they wouldn’t return to those type of support groups because experiences are different, the age demographic is different too and then the alcohol recovery is different from crystal meth,” Shingoose said.

Meth use is a major problem across the prairies, police have said it’s replacing opioids.

“There’s an epidemic, it’s sweeping across Saskatchewan. It’s not only in the cities, but it’s in our First Nation communities as well, so we need a strategy,” Shingoose said.

Last April, Delilah Hleboff and Joseph Desjarlais started using crystal meth and their lives quickly spiraled out of control.

“When I was using, my family pushed me away, they didn’t want anything to do with me,” Hleboff said. “I thought ‘well nobody cares about me so what’s the point of trying to quit?’”

“It’s a cheap drug, but an ugly drug.”

“It’s just a slow suicide that you’re putting yourself into,” Desjarlais said.

The wake up call was in September, when they’re kids were apprehended. They got in touch with YTC CFS and decided to quit using.

“It was just very hard on my body, you get aches and pains and (my) feet were sore, cold sweats, you feel hot one minute and cold the next minute,” Desjarlais said.

“I felt like turning back to it, but something inside me just told me not to do it.”

The pair have been sober since September, when Crystal Clear started. They also attend other programs offered through YTC CFS. The couple has made strides and are having successful visits with their kids.

“It helped me stay sober, stay out of trouble and keep myself busy by attending programs,” Hleboff said.

“Sober is a good feeling.”

Shingoose said more people are coming to Crystal Clear every week and the demand is so high they plan to add an extra night for recovering addicts to attend.



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