Pubdate: Wed, 25 Jun 2003
Source: Regina Leader-Post (CN SN)
Copyright: 2003 The Leader-Post Ltd.
Author: Pamela Cowan
Bookmark: (Methadone)


A woman who struggles daily with a morphine addiction welcomes a new drug
strategy for Regina and area.

"It's a good thing that addictions are being recognized because, when I
first moved into the city I was shunned and there was nowhere to go to talk
about having an addiction," said Iona Southwind, who attends and works at
the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region's methadone clinic.

"I tried everything with my morphine addiction and nothing else worked --
this was my last resort. The clinic saved my life and it sure changed my

Southwind is thankful her five children aren't addicts.

"I reside in the north-central area and we live around it every day," she
said. "Every second house is a drug house."

According to The Regina and Area Drug Strategy Report released Tuesday, the
number of Regina addicts is growing. Of the 9,548 people using regional
recovery services between 1995 and 2001, drug-problem-only clients increased
from 589 to 1,055.

Among injection drug users who disclosed current use, 37 per cent used
Talwin and Ritalin, 29 per cent used morphine and Demerol and 25 per cent
used cocaine.

Regina's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit reported 67 addicted babies were born
in each of the past two years.

The Regina Crime Prevention Commission partnered with the City of Regina in
2001 to develop a local drug strategy -- Regina is one of nine pilot sites
in Canada.

Southwind was at City Hall Tuesday where the 18 partners involved in the
strategy released their report on how the community can address local
addiction issues.

"I'm pleased with all the agencies and the partnerships involved and that
there are people who care, and I do support the drug strategy report," she

The report's 22 recommendations, covering prevention and treatment to
partnerships, came from consultation meetings with community members.

During the consultations, many people weren't aware of available supports so
agencies must communicate better to prevent duplication of services, said
Kathleen McNab, a youth project co-ordinator at Treaty Four Urban Services.

A co-ordinator will be hired by September to implement the report's key

As a First Nation person and youth co-ordinator, McNab sees how destructive
drug addictions are in her community and "there is a need for action."

Not all the recommendations can be implemented immediately, said Police
Chief Cal Johnston. "We have to be reasonable about how we do this, but at
the same time, we just can't stand where we are and do nothing," he said.

Johnston hopes alcohol and drug services are reviewed and changes
recommended within treatment and detoxification facilities across the

Currently many treatment facilities will only admit an addict who isn't
using drugs, but police often deal with intoxicated people.

"We would like to be able to refer them or take them to a centre that would
offer treatment at that point," he said.
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