Special Reports

New therapy method takes rigorous approach

As the number of local residents being treated for meth addiction increases, San Luis Obispo County has begun using a far more rigorous treatment to help them.

The new program -- endorsed by federal officials -- requires multiple counseling sessions weekly for about four months, random drug testing each week, plus nine more months of continuing care.

"Methamphetamine does so much brain damage that we have to force people to stay clean long enough to see that life can be better without it," said Linda Baker, director of the program called Matrix.

Before county officials began the Matrix process in August, clients attended counseling sessions and communitybased support groups as needed.

In Matrix, the intensive individual and group counseling is designed to teach clients timemanagement and scheduling skills, as well as how to live free of drug abuse. Families are invited to join the counseling sessions.

The classes are often repetitive, which works well for people recovering from meth, who often suffer from temporary short-term memory problems, Baker said.