A day doesn’t go by when we don’t hear about methamphetamine in the local and network news. Unfortunately the stories are usually about the connection between violence, crime, and the addictive drug.

Sioux Falls resident Tina Franka knows about meth from personal experience!

“I had tried it a couple of times during college. I was able to stay up late and was able to do studies. But, it also made me tired. At the time I didn’t want to deal with it. I had so many things going on with my education. I had graduated from college with a degree in nuclear medicine. For several years, I didn’t have anything to do with meth---until I broke my neck in an accident. I was in pain and always depressed. That’s when I made a terrible decision and tried meth a second time. I thought it would help me cope with all the negatives in my life.”

And that’s what happened in the beginning.

“Meth took away all the pain and brought me out of the depression for a little bit. I felt I could control the drug. What a mistake that was! My mind was getting messed up. Things weren’t right. I wasn’t being responsible. That’s when I tried to kick the meth addiction. How wrong I was! Every time I tried to get sober, the pain and depression hit me ten fold. It was just horrible. I got so low I thought about suicide. I will tell you when you’re on meth life is so good. But, when you’re not using, you hit rock bottom physically and emotionally. I finally gave up trying to be sober. I would bring my kids to mom who would take care of them. I didn’t have job. I didn’t have a house anymore. I just gave myself to the drug for a couple of years.”

Eventually, Tina ended up in federal prison on drug related charges.

“I now consider that to be a blessing. I was able to get clean! If someone is hooked on meth I can honestly tell them there is hope! Don’t give in. There are meetings and self-help groups like AA, NA, and Smart Recovery. Even though they are struggling and don’t think they can do it, it is possible to make the change.”

Right now, Tina Franka is graduating from USD with a degree in addiction studies.

“I’m going to get my chemical dependency certificate! Sure, it’s been hard. But, I’ve done it! So can others that are in the grips of a meth addiction.”

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