By Larry Kline/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
The Fort Belknap Chemical Dependency Center, together with law enforcement, tribal court and other treatment groups, is inviting the public to an all-day workshop on methamphetamine addiction and treatment.
The workshop will be held on Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Fort Belknap Bingo Hall. The program is free and meals will be provided.
"It's going to be an excellent conference," said Henry Doney, an addiciton counselor with the center. "We just want people to come and listen. We've got a full agenda, and we've got some excellent speakers coming in."
The speakers include law enforcement officials from the Tri-Agency Task Force and Fort Belknap, and a retired Bureau of Indian Affairs agent, along with treatment counselors from Harlem, Billings and Great Falls.
There will also be a break for entertainment in the morning, when the Harlem High School Dance Troupe will perform.
Meth addiction is a problem that affects the entire area, Doney said, and doesn't discriminate by age, gender or race.
"This isn't just a Fort Belknap problem," he said. "This is a Havre problem, a Chinook problem, a Harlem problem. It has no regard for who you are. It's such a problem, and we feel there's a lot of misinformation and misguided people regarding this drug."
Doney works with a number of different addictions at the Chemical Dependency Center, which serves Fort Belknap and the surrounding area, but said meth is by far the most difficult addiction to deal with. The addiction, he said, can destroy lives.
"It's such a powerful drug," Doney said. "It destroys families. It separates people from their health, parents from their children. It's amazing what happens to someone involved with this drug."
Doney said the drug turns off the part of the brain that is responsible for guilt and remorse.
"You really are like a zombie," he said. "That's insanity. You're dealing with people that have no guilt, shame or remorse. They don't care."
The surge of adrenaline associated with the drug can give the addict the strength of three or four people, Doney said. Some of the law enforcement officers present will talk about their experiences trying to apprehend people under the influence of the drug.
Meth can also cause long-term damage to the person's veins, arteries and major organs. Even if a person gets sober, they can still face consequences down the road, Doney said.
"It's like a time bomb," he said.