21 Nov The Cost of Meth Addiction in Edmonton
This year was a big year for Edmonton, but not in a good way. According to a report from the CBC, police have seen an increase in the number of street seizures of meth to almost double what it was four years ago. Take a look at the increase is numbers:
- 2015 – 14,416 grams
- 2016 – 24,566 grams
- 2017 – 33,112 grams
- 2018 – 36,687 grams
As you can see the numbers just keep growing, and it correlates to the consistent growth of meth users.
As you know, drugs aren’t free, and most people who are seriously addicted don’t have the financial means to support their addiction, which means an increase in drug addiction leads to an increase in crime.
The average street price for meth on the street is around $100 a gram, but it can also be sold for $40 – $50 a gram, depending on the quality, and supply and demand. Meth is cheap compared to fentanyl, which can cost around $150 to $250 a gram. How long a gram can last depends on the user’s tolerance, but on average, a gram will last a week.
The Health Cost to the Individual
The short-term effects of meth addiction are: extre me weight loss, hyperactivity, nausea, delusions of power, increased aggressiveness and irritability, insomnia, confusion, hallucinations, anxiety and paranoia.
The long-term effects are: permanent damage to the heart, leading to heart attacks, strokes and death; permanent damage to the brain, leading to psychosis, depression, Alzheimer’s, stroke and epilepsy. Serious health issues also include liver, kidney, and lung damage; infectious diseases and abscesses, and malnutrition and severe tooth decay.
The high cost to an individual’s health means that getting treatment earlier is essential to securing a successful long-term recovery.
The Cost to Community
When people use meth, they are more likely to behave erratically and violently, which makes it more difficult for anyone around them to respond with empathy. Especially when the highly addictive nature of the drug causes addicts to turn to crime to feed their habit, and the numbers of burglaries and car and bike thefts rise within the community.
Meth is cheap, potent, and easily accessible. It also drives an underground economy, which causes a huge cost to society in terms of vandalism, violence, robbery, and assault. And that doesn’t include the cost to the health care system for the medical conditions caused by methamphetamine use.
In addition to crime, a city with a growing drug problem also experiences an increase in homelessness, and unfortunately, meth addicts tend to exhibit more aggressive tendencies, which further alienates them from society and incites a growing lack of understanding and care from the public.
The Community Solution
However, building a healthy community means taking care of the less fortunate members of the community to help lift them out of poverty and set them on track to becoming contributing members of society.
To treat people who are addicted to meth, we need to get to the root causes of addiction.
Treating meth addiction is not easy, but federal and provincial initiatives are being developed to find solutions that will help communities deal with the drug problem and provide help for addicts.
If the community can provide the means to help prevent the sale of drugs, and provide the support needed for treatment programs and addiction centers, we may be able to start reducing the rising number of addicts on the streets.
If you know someone who is suffering from an addiction to methamphetamine, don’t try and help them alone. The addictive nature of the drug will have altered the nature of your loved one and they may no longer respond in a rational manner.
Call an interventionist for help. A professional interventionist can advise you on the best course of action that can help your friend or family member get back on track to a better lifestyle.