Pubdate: Thu, 15 Jan 2009
Source: Calgary Sun, The (CN AB)
Copyright: 2009 The Calgary Sun
Author: Bill Kaufmann
Bookmark: (Youth)
Bookmark: (Treatment)
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine - Canada)


Provincial drug treatment counsellors saw a nearly 14% jump in their
youth clientele in Calgary last year over 2007, with a rise in the
number of abusers of the dreaded crystal meth.

In 2008, the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission (AADAC) youth
counsellors in Calgary handled 1,232 clients, compared to 1,091 the
previous year, said agency spokesman Mark Morningstar.

And in a period when numbers were tracked, from April to July, the
number of teens showing up with crystal meth in the city more than
doubled from 2007 to 2008, he said.

"For the past few years, crystal meth has been our biggest concern ...
it's seen to be very destructive," said Morningstar.

The good news is, during that period in 2008, AADAC in Calgary only
saw seven crystal meth addicts. There were three in 2007. But he
admitted that, overall, the agency was busier last year dealing with
addictions among the 12-17 age group ranging from gambling to
marijuana and prescription drugs.

It's difficult to say why that is, though AADAC's increased visibility
might be a reason, said Morningstar.

"One would be awareness of the services available and we go into
different schools which could lead to an increase in numbers -- and
word-of-mouth," he said.

But he said those numbers are a particular concern because of the
heavier legacy substance abuse when picked up at a younger age.

"In terms of prevention, these stages are crucial because there's an
increased chance they'll use at a later stage," said

Staffing to deal with the workload is another concern.

"We seem to be drawing from programs an awful lot to be help us out,"
he said.

The most common substance abused by youthful AADAC clients is
marijuana followed by alcohol, though Morningstar said booze may not
register as much due to its legality and social tolerance.

And he said it's safe to say drug and alcohol problems AADAC sees
through its clients is only a sampling of the reality.

"A 2005 youth experience survey showed 63% had consumed alcohol in the
last 12 months, which tell you something about the real numbers," he
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