Tough new laws locking up ingredients used to make methamphetamine may have cut down the number of local drug-labs, but the drug and its many users are still a problem. Thursday and Friday, more than 200 substance-abuse and mental health professionals will gather in Omaha to learn about advances in treating methamphetamine addiction.
Program Coordinator Nicole Kennedy says meth affects the body in a different way than other addictive substances. So, she says there are issues regarding the detox time. Kennedy says meth actually has psychotic effects on your brain, so until the drug’s out of your system, “we don’t even know if we’re dealing with you or if we’re dealing with you under the effects of meth.” She says it’s a challenge to provide treatment until some of those physiological things have been resolved.
Kennedy says meth users often also struggle with addictions to alcohol and other drugs. In the last ten years, as meth has become an increasing concern in the Midwest and other parts of the country, Kennedy says researchers have learned more about the drug and how to treat it. They know it’s different, she says, but now they need the specific skill-set to help them actually deal with the differences. The conference runs Thursday and Friday at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.