September 7, 2006
Media Release

Exploring the truth about methamphetamine

Police and Health working together
 
NEWMARKET – Today, in an innovative partnership, York Region Health Services and York Regional Police joined forces to co-host a one-day educational summit to explore the truth about methamphetamine and other illicit drugs in our community.
 
Methamphetamine is a high dependency drug that derives from the group of drugs called amphetamines.  The white, odourless, transparent powder can be snorted, swallowed, smoked or injected.  It is produced for recreational use in illegal labs.  Short–term health dangers of methamphetamine use include increased heart rate and blood pressure and potential overdose (seizures, heart attack, stroke, death). In addition to the
short-term health risks, people who use methamphetamine for a longer period of time can develop amphetamine psychosis.  Amphetamine psychosis involves consistent violent behaviours and, delusionary and hallucinatory experiences.
 
The summit is a result of collaboration between York Region Health Services and York Regional Police to create a York Region Methamphetamine Strategy.  This unique strategy combines the harm reduction messages delivered by public health and the enforcement messages regarding use, production and distribution communicated by York Regional Police.
 
"It's a fact that our two organizations approach the issue of substance use from different perspectives," said Regional Councillor Joyce Frustaglio, Chair of Health and Emergency Medical Services Committee.  "Bringing together these two perspectives under one program is ground-breaking and, we have learned, effective." 
 
"That's the bottom line," she added.  "Together we are confronting illicit drug use head on – effectively and proactively."
 
Various educational sessions delivered by field experts spoke to the many aspects of methamphetamine, including enforcement, treatment, analysis and preparation and prevention.  Keynote speaker, David Jacobson, United States Drug Enforcement Agent (D.E.A), discussed with various frontline healthcare promotion specialists, emergency first responders, addiction clinicians and policing professionals the present relationship of importing and exporting illegal drugs between Canada and the U.S.   
 
In Canada, the use of methamphetamine, which is also known as meth, crank or ice, is relatively low in comparison to use of other illegal drugs.  York Region has not felt the same impact of methamphetamine as other communities, but it is not immune to its effects either. It is the goal of this strategy to minimize the influence of methamphetamine in our community by continuing to educate health care and policing professionals on these important issues.
 
To obtain a copy of the York Region Methamphetamine Strategy or for more information on the substance abuse program or other health-related topics, contact Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or visit www.york.ca
 
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, York Region Health Services
 Phone:  (905) 830-4444 Ext. 4016 or After-hours Pager: (905) 830-3302
 Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca

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