New treatment gives hope to meth addicts in central Indiana

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ANDERSON, Ind. - There's a new treatment for people addicted to meth and some say it seems to be working.

Nationally, the number of overdose deaths in which meth played a role increased nearly 8 times from 2007 to 2017, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

One recovery center in Anderson, Grace Recovery and Wellness, noticed an uptick in meth use too and wanted to find a solution.

Karl Lazar is the owner of the center. Two clients in his group session on Tuesday struggled with a dependence on meth. Lazar said most of his clients have used meth.

One of them is 22-year-old Chandler Epps who began using meth when he was 17-years-old. Epps said there are at least a dozen cases against him involving meth.

"Everyday user, lying, stealing, cheating, hundreds of dollars a day," he said.

Epps tried to get sober but rehab did not work. He came to see Lazar at his new recovery center.

"We have seen a high increase of meth, especially in this area of Indiana," Lazar said.

Lazar was looking for medication to help people at his center and treat his addiction. That's when someone told him about Dr. Michael Miller.

Miller runs a multi-specialty group in Indianapolis called Miller Care Group.

"We had about 8 months ago started to look at the meth problem and I went through the literature. And I realized it made no sense that there was no treatment," said Miller.

Miller believes he has found something that helps patients to stop using meth. He is giving them medications that are typically used for other purposes, like treating smoking cessation.

The two medicines he is prescribing are Provigil and Wellbutrin.

"When we spoke to meth users, they reported a sense of internal boredom. Best word I can use. A low state of arousal that they just had no get-up and go," he said.

He couples his treatment protocol with counseling to address mental health issues and patients said it is working.

"With the medication, I have absolutely no cravings it keeps me motivated," said Epps.

Miller said nearly 20 patients in Indianapolis and Anderson are using this treatment. He said he started looking for the treatment because right now, the FDA has no approved medications for meth addiction.

He is trying to get the word out to see if other providers are interested in this idea too.

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