Meth addiction has grabbed the attention of South Dakota leaders because of the harmful effects to users and their families plus the eventual high costs to either rehabilitate or incarcerate addicts.

Sally Holiday helps with treatment programs at the Glory House, a place where those recently released from prison can re-establish a life beyond the prison walls. Holiday describes how substance abuse starts.

“Chemically what happens when you ingest a substance there’s a depletion of dopamine. The brain doesn’t make those feel good chemicals anymore. The user is going, ‘Where’s my blast, my pick-me-up?’ Their brain becomes dependent on that substance they are ingesting into their body.”

Over time, Holiday explains that the need for addictive substances and especially meth overwhelms the user.

“After the disease (of addiction) progresses, users think they are superhuman and getting things done. They’re not. It comes to a point where I’m not even talking about holding down a job. They need meth just to wake up, get out of bed, get to the shower, to function.”

When it comes to treatment, Holiday stresses that families need to be involved in the process. Generally that’s due to family influences at the start of addiction. During the three major addresses at the start of the South Dakota Legislative Session, Governor Dennis Daugaard, Chief Justice David Gilbertson and Yankton Sioux Tribal Chairman Robert Flying Hawk all stressed the need to confront meth addiction.

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