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Broad Partnership Aims to Tackle Meth Addiction Crisis in Tulsa

More than a dozen partners are behind a new treatment program in Tulsa for meth addiction.

During a virtual news conference on Monday, leaders in the plan described meth addiction as a crisis in Tulsa. Interim State Mental Health Commissioner Carrie Slatton-Hodges put it in perspective: In 2013, roughly one in 10 local treatment admissions were for meth.

"Today, one-third of all Tulsa County substance abuse treatment admissions are for methamphetamine. That is just staggering," Slatton-Hodges said.

The new model, dubbed the Tulsa Methamphetamine Treatment Continuum, involves partners like the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Servies, OSU Center for Health Sciences, 12&12 and the City of Tulsa. It includes steps like increasing the number of beds at treatment provider 12&12, offering gender-specific addiction treatment, and providing sober living support and job services after treatment.

"We’re talking about a new, more intensive and more enhanced way for our community to treat meth addiction," said Healthy Minds Policy Initiative Executive Director Zack Stoycoff.

Addiction to the widely available drug is poised to get even worse. OSU Center for Health Sciences President Dr. Kayse Shrum said a Johns Hopkins study found anxiety and depression have tripled during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Unfortunately, it will leave in its wake an addiction and mental health crisis that will have long-lasting effects. That’s why it’s more important than ever that we have initiatives like the Tulsa Methamphetamine Treatment Continuum that can start helping Oklahomans today," Shrum said.

People in need of treatment will be directed to the program through criminal justice diversion programs or mental health referrals.

12&12 estimates it will be able to treat an additional 400 people a year in its expanded methamphetamine recovery program. The City of Tulsa allocated $252,000 in coronavirus relief funds to the treatment continuum.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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