Support group for crystal meth addicts opens in Regina
- EFN Staff | September 09, 2018
A one-of-a-kind support group geared for crystal methamphetamine (meth) addicts launched this past week in Regina.
The Wapanacik Program that’s under the Yorkton Tribal Council (YTC) Child and Family Services knew there was a need to provide additional help for their clients, as they noticed there isn’t a support group directed to crystal meth addicts, so they decided to take upon themselves to create one.
The Wapanacik Program staff gathered together and compiled their own research on the drug and the effects so they can better understand their clientele. Together, they came up with the Crystal Clear support group.
“We’re recognizing the need is out there,” said Rae Shingoose, the Program Manager for Member Nations Services of YTC Child and Family Services. “The first went really well and was very well received. The individuals that attended did a lot of sharing. There was a lot of understandings that they aren’t alone. There’s other people out there that are trying to help themselves.”
The planning of the Crystal Clear support group started back in May and it held its first meeting on Wednesday, September 5. The attendance was a small group but the staff knows the numbers of attendees will continue to grow once more people become aware of this unique group. The Wapanacik Program staff members cater to the group attendees by offering free transportation and childcare. They also provide refreshments during the two-hour weekly session.
“We are kind of unique in that way,” said Shingoose. “Other support programs are structured in a way where people come and show up. We’re trying to help individuals overcome barriers that may prevent them from going to a support group.”
Wapanacik program staff began their reach outs to addictions services and the Regina Police Service drug enforcement and gang unit to establish partnerships in the city. They are hoping to start up a task force geared towards crystal meth to address, bring awareness and education to the rise of usage across the prairies.
It isn’t known how many Indigenous people in Saskatchewan are addicted to the powerful drug, but it is known that the use of crystal meth is on the rise. The usage of the drug tends to lead to various problems such as a spike in crimes, HIV diagnosis and child apprehension to name a few. The YTC Wapanacik Program works to help families in their recoveries to restore their wellness in order to get their children back from the system. Some of their clientele are referred to their services but others have heard of the work that is transpired from the programs coming out of YTC Child and Family Services.
“Crystal methamphetamine is a unique recover process,” said Wapanacik staff member Garry Severight. “It requires intense support. Hearing the stories [from the first Crystal Clear meeting], there are mental health issues and all kinds of things. It’s going to be a battle helping these families but that’s why we developed this program. We see it taking off…they have somewhere to come to now.”
The Crystal Clear support group is held at the YTV urban office located at 418B McDonald Street. Staff members are hoping the current location will only be temporary and are currently seeking partnerships so they can make the support group more accessible. The weekly meetings are open to anyone and is not restricted to YTC community members.
“I told the people who attended the [first meeting] that ‘you are all apart of history. This is first crystal meth meeting in Regina and Saskatchewan’,” said Severight. “This is a good thing happening here and hopefully more will follow suit.”
All the members of the Wapanacik program have personal connections to people who are battling or have battled with crystal meth – which makes the drive for support much more meaningful.