While Swift Current hasn't been hit hard by fentanyl, methamphetamine use is a growing problem in the city.

Both the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and the Swift Current City RCMP are coming across more meth around Swift Current.

The SHA doesn't have specific numbers of people they deal with related to meth use, but staff members in Swift Current say there's been an increase of the drug for people being admitted and there for emergency care.

Ralph Aman, clinical supervisor and addiction services in Swift Current for the SHA, said treating people that use meth is tough.

"People can be quite aggressive under the influence, mood swings, certainly in severe cases they can experience psychosis. People often feel, or can have, quite a bit of anxiety. But also they get that feeling of euphoria while they are under the influence, so it can be quite challenging."

While fentanyl use turned into a public health emergency in Canada, it hasn't come up often at Cypress Hills Regional Hospital in Swift Current or in police seizures around town.

Aman said this could be due to fentanyl costing more than meth, and that it's a pattern that is similar around the province.

Aman said they first need to ensure someone looking for treatment because of meth is medically stable before they look at further treatment.

"From there we can look at a variety of different supports right here in the community in terms of seeing an addictions councillor, also helping people line up with other supports in the community. And then depending upon needs, we do have detox centres in the community that we can refer folks to, or even in-patient treatment centres with aftercare following discharge. There's quite a spectrum of services available."

The SHA funds 359 residential addictions treatment beds, and most people from around Swift Current go to inpatient treatment in Regina and to detox in Moose Jaw, according to the SHA.

The SHA also has data saying of 210 admissions around Saskatchewan to the secure youth detox centre in Regina in 2017-17, the most-commonly-used substances are marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol.

Generally for substance abuse, not just meth, the Swift Current service area has 393 people accessing addictions inpatient treatment. Of those 393, 27 per cent were under 19 years old, while provincially, 28,000 people accessed treatment, with nine per cent under 19.

And while meth use has been rising, the most-commonly-abused substance nationwide remains the same around the province.

"The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse recently released some statistics, and overall the impact of alcohol is still number one in Saskatchewan and across Canada," Aman said.

Aman said a family physician is a good place to start for people seeking treatment, or they can contact centralized intake in Swift Current at 1 877 329 0005.

If you have a story you'd like to share, you can contact the Swift Current Online Newsroom at [email protected] or call 306 773 6397.

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