American-Indian Tribe in Washington State To Require Convicted Meth Users To Receive Experimental Treatment
The Tulalip Tribe of the Tulalip Reservation in Washington state is in the early stages of adopting a program designed to treat native methamphetamine addicts with an experimental intravenous drug treatment, the Everett Daily Herald reports. The Tulalip Tribe's board of directors in October voted unanimously to approve Prometa -- a three-year-old, off-label, protocol drug treatment that calls for injections of three FDA-approved drugs -- as a treatment at the reservation's health clinic. Prometa, which was developed by Hythiam, is an outpatient treatment that reduces the brain's craving for methamphetamine, alcohol, nicotine and other addictive substances, according to Tim Sullivan, spokesperson for Hythiam. Patients undergo three intravenous treatments administered by trained professionals during the first week. The first treatment takes 12 hours, and the second and third treatments are shorter. The treatments then are followed by one month of prescription medication, and patients are advised to join 12-step therapy groups such as Narcotics Anonymous. Nationwide, about 60 physicians are trained to administer the Prometa treatments, Sullivan said. Tribal physicians at the Tulalip Health Clinic will be trained to administer Prometa, and the tribal drug court will work with tribal social services to require convicted methamphetamine users to receive the treatment. According to tribal court Judge Gary Bass, between 30% and 40% of the defendants in Tulalip Tribal Court are addicted to methamphetamine (Kapralos, Everett Daily Herald, 12/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.