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The Search for Methamphetamine-Specific Treatment Can Be Complicated

sleeping hangover

Our member Kim asks a simple question. The answer isn’t so simple, but that’s partly because there are many promising ways forward.  

sleeping hangover

“How can I get a list of meth-specific treatment programs?” 

Thank you for your question. The treatment for methamphetamine addiction is in its infancy—which is utterly surprising given the epidemic we’re seeing. A list of specialty treatment places for methamphetamine addiction does not yet exist. 

Click on our tab “Methamphetamines” (to the right) to see questions our members have asked and that we’ve answered.  

(If there are members reading this who have information about quality inpatient or residential places that treat Methamphetamine Use Disorder, please share what you’ve learned in the comments below.)

Better ways to search for treatment  

Over my 18 years of working with families, I can tell you that finding treatment is the hardest part. You can spend hours searching online and making phone calls and come up with only one or two reasonable “options” for your Loved One.  

At Allies, we’ve created a methodology for treatment searches that goes beyond a simple web search. One idea is to search by the specialty approach you are interested in.  
We’ve reported, for instance, that contingency management is a promising approach for stimulant abuse. If I type “contingency management” into a Google search, I get private treatment sites that lure you on with an informational piece on contingency management for stimulant addiction. But when you click on the treatment site, you find nothing specific to methamphetamine addiction. Totally unhelpful. 

But that search results also include studies, which in turn include the names of researchers working on contingency management. These researchers can be an excellent source of treatments in their area of specialization.  

You can also search for associated practitioners of an approach. You might find them grouped at a state or local level, like an association or chapter (for example, dialectical behavioral therapy practitioners have formed a state association in CT).  

Another possibility: Pear Therapeutics is offering a digital therapeutic that includes contingency management principles. In this case the “digital” therapeutic integrates a mobile device app with a live practitioner for ongoing support. Can you look up one of these practitioners?  

Perhaps you can find a practitioner willing to try a two-drug combination using the medications Naltrexone (Vivitrol, administered as a monthly shot) and Bupropion (Wellbutrin). There is some evidence that these drugs work in one out of nine people tested. We’ll post this on the What’s News Blog, but here is the link. These combination treatments work to reduce use by providing a disincentive. Naltrexone blocks the euphoria that you get when ingesting methamphetamine. Wellbutrin quiets the obsessiveness and urges. 

Don’t forget recovery coaches and centers 

Finally, recovery coaches and recovery centers are filling critical gaps in professional treatments for addiction of all kinds. If there are none in your area, call one that isn’t nearby. These folks are dedicated and helpful. They have their finger on the pulse of treatments in their locality. They can give you more ideas and reviews of the treatment places with which they’ve had personal and/or professional experience. 

Does your Loved One need to be housed? 

For families who need their Loved One housed, the choices (in order of intensity) are detox, inpatient, residential, and finally a three-quarter or halfway sober house. This journey can have bumps and setbacks, but it is helpful to see the big picture. Remember that methamphetamine withdrawal can take a long time. Being housed safely—surrounded by community treaters, self-help meetings, and a supportive family/network—is the best we can offer our Loved Ones with methamphetamine addiction. 

Good luck, Kim. I hope this is helpful. Keep us posted.  


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In your comments, please show respect for each other and do not give advice. Please consider that your choice of words has the power to reduce stigma and change opinions (ie, "person struggling with substance use" vs. "addict", "use" vs. "abuse"...)