Meth Addicts in the ER

By: Elizabeth Green
By: Elizabeth Green

You may have noticed a lot of meth stories in the news lately.

That's because meth use is on the rise in our area, so much that it is even apparent to doctors like Anthony Kitchen.

"When I came down here, I never saw it, but now it’s pretty common, which is a sad commentary to the area, but it is definitely a problem we have to deal with here in our area," Kitchen says.

Terri Dewees is the Director of Ambulatory Services at Camden Clark. She says more meth patients come in during the holidays and cold months.

"I think it comes in cycles, we see more use in the winter when people have a little more time on their hands and they aren't doing other things so they do drugs instead," Dewees says.

Meth patients can end up in the hospital for various reasons, but it is rarely because they think they need help.

"Most of them are not at that stage yet, most of them come in because they've had an accident or fallen off a roof because they are impaired and that's when we discover it," Dewees says.

And that's when doctors take extra precautions to keep everyone safe.

"Part of the treatment is to keep them as calm as possible. We turn the lights down, we try to decrease the amount of stimuli they receive because that can trigger the aggressive behavior," Kitchen says.

"We've been very lucky, we have had patients with aggressive behavior, but no patients or staff have ever been injured," Dewees says.

It’s a clean record they would like to keep.

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