Finding that your home contains unsafe levels of meth is, at best, an unpleasant experience. It’s even worse when that contamination reveals your loved one suffers from an addiction. And, unfortunately, that’s a more common scenario than most people think.
According to the Utah Department of Health, individuals seeking treatment for meth [in Utah] represent roughly 28% of all substance abuse treatment admissions. Of those admissions, nearly 75% are women and mothers. In fact, 3,785 people entered treatment for meth abuse in 2001 alone. (That’s nearly triple the number of admissions for heroin or cocaine.) Sadly, that’s a consistent trend. And it appears that meth is killing more Utah residents than ever before.
Indeed, methamphetamine remains a significant local and national issue, one that affects us all and ruins lives.
AEI Decon’s Interview With The Odyssey House.
Seeking treatment for a loved one can be difficult. That’s why we spoke to The Odyssey House. It’s been a hard year for everyone, especially in Utah. We’ve had earthquakes, hurricane-level winds, shortages in supplies, the ravages of a pandemic, on and on. As such, we hoped to create a series of blogs to celebrate the season of thanks, to help our readers find any and all the help they need, and to spread awareness about these important organizations.
However, after our discussion with The Odyssey House, we knew we needed to do a bit more. In fact, we’ll be putting our other blogs on hold to focus on a coat drive to help meet the needs of this important facility. (Don’t worry, we’ll continue our discussion on the meth-induced psychosis soon.) Before we get into the specifics of the drive, however, we wanted to give you some information about The Odyssey House, and why this organization deserves our attention.
Help With Addiction In Utah
The Odyssey House is a nonprofit which maintains a wide variety of substance abuse and addiction programs. In fact, they are the largest behavioral health treatment center in Utah. They have 28 locations including separate residential facilities for adults and teens, parents with single children (where the family can stay together,) out-patient supports, and more.
Thousands of people turn to The Odyssey House each year, seeking a path out of the darkness of addiction. Due to the nature of this disease, The Odyssey House provides resources to people who have lost everything. That includes hygiene products, clothes, coats, and other basic necessities. As a nonprofit, they rely on donations for many of these supplies.
Most of us are already aware that meth is toxic. It’s a powerful stimulant, capable of triggering heart-attacks, seizures, bleeding in the brain, and more. In the long-term, it can lead to insomnia that lasts for days and even weeks, damage to internal organs, neurotoxicity, brain damage, psychosis, and worse. In short, that means The Odyssey House saves lives. They also keep people off the streets and offer hope to the truly desperate. (And, of course, fewer people using meth means less meth residue – which is good for everyone.)
We had the pleasure of speaking with Randall Carlisle, Odyssey House’s Media & Community Affairs Specialist. He gave us an insider’s take on seeking treatment, and how family and friends can best support a loved one who is using meth.
The First Steps Towards Seeking Treatment
“You can reach us by application or phone call,” Carlisle said, “We have a pretty good website – you can also chat with us online. There’s a contact number for admission. We’re in a situation now – because of COVID – where we can almost get people in immediately.”
Carlisle informed us that due to recent Medicaid expansions and increased funding, Odyssey House can help almost anyone, “regardless of ability to pay.” Anyone who’s dealt with a stint in residential treatment knows that insurance companies often won’t cover more than a month or two, which makes this facility a critical resource. Carlisle says they’ll make sure you get the treatment you need, with an average length of stay of anywhere between 3-5 months.
According to Carlisle, all of The Odyssey House’s programs can also accommodate detoxing from methamphetamine, which helps your loved one start treatment sooner. After several months in a residential program, individuals can step down into transitional sober living and outpatient treatments. (That includes nighttime services.) “You may,” he said, “be totally clean in a year. A year of hard work, of course, but that’s about how long it takes.”
How To Help and Support Someone In Treatment
Carlisle told us the best course of action is to be supportive of treatment and to encourage the individual to stay. “Never cut them off saying you don’t love them,” he said, “because of their meth addiction. Emphasize that you’ll always love the person. But you don’t go as far as to enable them. Sometimes that’s a fine line and sometimes that’s pretty difficult to do. That’s why we have a pretty active family support group.”
“It’s important to know that your family supports you through treatment. But they aren’t going to enable you or find you any shortcuts or get you out early because they want you back – that sort of thing.”
Taking the Next Step
Having a loved one using meth is scary. There are so many unknowns and treatment isn’t something you can force on another person. Luckily, once your loved one is ready to take steps in getting clean, nonprofits like Odyssey House can help. Be sure to call or visit their website at www.odysseyhouse.org.
If you aren’t located in Utah or need additional resources, you can also visit the website of The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. They have a wealth of excellent information, including a national hotline.
Meth is a rising issue in Utah, so don’t hesitate to seek help. The sooner you take the first step, whether that’s a meth test for your home or seeking treatment, the sooner you can live a life free of harmful substances.
If you’d like to be involved or help The Odyssey House with its important work, consider making a donation. They are always in need of clothes, especially winter coats, men’s pants, underwear, and socks. You can also make cash donations if you prefer. The need for supplies exists year-round as well, all their facilities are Co-Ed, and some include children and teens. So please, make sure to keep The Odyssey House in mind this gift-giving season, and whenever you clean out your closet.
And of course, be on the lookout for information regarding our Coat and Clothing Drive for Odyssey House. In the meantime, if you find yourself in need of testing or decontamination make sure to call a Certified Decontamination Specialist in your area. If you’re in Utah, then AEI decon is here to help. Give us a call, at (801) 888-6698.