Group seeking ways to help meth addicts

Treatment for drug addicts varies, so a local anti-drug group is looking at all options.

And some of those choices may be closer than most people think.

"We've got to look at all our avenues," said Annette Gianinetti a member of C.O.M.A., which includes a group of community members with the goal of stemming methamphetamine use. "Wouldn't that be great if some of those answers were right here?"

C.O.M.A. members currently are in the infancy stages of seeking ways to start an in-patient drug rehabilitation treatment center. That typically means a structured, time-limited program that includes medical treatment. It can be a nonprofit, privately run or government funded endeavor.

Outpatient treatments available locally since last fall, are having an effect, said Erika Schmitz, substance abuse coordinator with the Craig Mental Health Center. The center is a division of Colorado West Regional Mental Health, which operates a few in-patient drug treatment centers across the state.

Outpatient treatment can include group therapy and social support, which can extend for months.

Treatment typically is de--signed to work with people's daily lives.

Outpatient treatment generally costs less than inpatient treatment.

Treatment for drug users may vary according to personalities, said Tracey Lathrop a certified addiction counselor with Craig Mental Health.

She thinks too much emphasis is being placed on a need for local in-patient drug treatment, when outpatient treatment is available.

An open once-a-week women's group specifically addresses problems women with drug addictions may face.

About five women attend the meetings, but Lathrop expects that number to climb.

Lathrop and Schmitz said they would support an in-patient treatment center, but funding sources are limited.

Another option is the skills of local medical professionals.

Gianinetti and other C.O.M.A. members are looking to increasing meth awareness to help stem financial barriers to opening an in-patient treatment center and accessing local options.

Her optimism is fueled in part by legislation co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo. It would provide a total of $10 million to prosecute meth off-enders and provide services for children affected by meth use.

The bill, labeled the Combat Meth Act, also aims to boost meth rehabilitation the treatment options and research better ways to rehabilitate the meth users.

"I believe there's grant monies to get started," she said. "All we can do is look."

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