Meth psychosis study: Officials to investigate effectiveness of anti-psychotic drug

In December of 2018, the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service became the first responders in the country to give Olanzapine to patients in the grips of meth psychosis.

Now, it’s launched a review to study the drug’s effectiveness.

Data from the time it’s been in use will be compared with that of the previous year. Officials will look at markers such as length of stay in hospital and condition during the individual patients stay.

In a statement to CTV News, Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service Medical Director Dr. Rob Grierson writes:

“The effects of meth are predictably unpredictable. While we believe the use of olanzapine has benefits in treating these patients, and this drug is currently considered the standard of care, it is important we are looking at evidence which backs this up.”

When users experience meth psychosis, many experience hallucinations and feel extreme paranoia.

“They are terrified. They are absolutely terrified,” said Registered Psychiatric Nurse Antoinette Bryan. “And when you’re terrified, it’s going to be fight or flight.”

Bryan has seen it happen first hand, and has also administered a drug.

“It helps bring them down from the psychosis that they’re experiencing.”

Morberg House applauds study

Marion Willis, is the Founder and Executive Director of Morberg House, a long term recovery program for men struggling with meth addiction.

“It’s an absolutely critical first step if we ever want to really understand methamphetamine use disorder,” said Willis.

Willis believes the study will help determine the best way to treat meth psychosis, but said that isn’t the end of the patient’s problems.

“When you look at treatment for a meth addict, it’s not necessarily medical treatment that’s required,” said Willis.

“This is more about developing comprehensive long term case plans that are recovery oriented.”

Still, Willis said she applauds the study that officials say will help guide efforts to improve care for patients.