Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute

Methamphetamine in Washington State Symposium, June 2019

Jim Vollendroff
Image: Jim Vollendroff, MPA, Harborview UW Medicine Behavioral Health Institute.

The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute brought together more than 130 state policy makers, researchers, and leaders in behavioral health, health care, and social services for a symposium on Methamphetamine in Washington: Informing Policy and Research, held June 28, 2019 on the University of Washington campus.

The conference began with two individuals who have lived experience with methamphetamine use sharing how meth had affected them personally and how they had been helped to move beyond their addiction.

“You think that you can do [meth use] differently, it’ll be different this time. All the things that go along with it, your life is exciting — it’s fun. It doesn’t take too long for the bottom to drop out. And my bottom was losing my company, losing my job, my family, and then losing my freedom — being locked up. In 2012 I was tired, I was 48 years old and had spent 29 years off and on in crime and methamphetamine addiction. My mom’s prayers and God’s grace opened a door for me. Through Skagit County Drug Court — it was a humbling experience but I grabbed hold of it. I went to school, became a drug court counselor, now I work for Pioneer Human Services on the mobile needle exchange. I get to do that work with the same people I used to do crime with, the same faces, and they ask “what happened?” and I’m able to tell them. I was given a chance to understand that I could be a good guy and I could have potential.” – Randall

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“It wasn’t just one service that helped me. I had jail, I had detox centers, I had inpatient. What got me back was family. My family took me back in — they gave me the room and freedom to cycle out and survive through. I went to Seattle Counseling Services and had one-on-ones through chemical dependency, I had art therapy, and a discovery group. Those were the services that helped me. Now I work at a pizza shop – proudly – and I volunteer at an AIDS outreach syringe exchange. I get to meet people at their level like they met me.” – Jess

Participants also heard from a diverse group of speakers about the scope and impact of meth use in our state, approaches for treating meth use disorders, and supportive services for people both in and out of recovery. In lively Q&A sessions with each panel, the experts on stage and in the audience shared their experience, information, and strategies for dealing with this large and growing problem in Washington.

Join our new methamphetamine email list to continue the exchange of ideas started at the symposium.

Read the 2018 report from ADAI, Methamphetamine in Washington.

Support for this event came from the Washington Health Care Authority Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery and the UW Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute.

ADAI logo
WA Health Care Authority logo