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Help is on the way for Utah police officers exposed to methamphetamine labs.
"When Mark Shurtleff announced he was going to test out the New York 9/11 Rescue Workers Detoxification Project, to help the meth cops, Dr. (Jerry) Ross and I met with him," said Mike Phillips, a founder of Biocleansing Centers of America in Orem.
"He looked at our program and said he wanted us to stay in business long enough to help those cops."
The center, at 555 S. State St., normally helps recovering drug addicts or people who may have been exposed to chemicals or pollutants at work or home. In order to meet the Utah Attorney General's request, BCCA will follow the 9/11 Project's guidelines. It will be facilitated by BCCA employees and members of the 9/11 Project team, beginning sometime next month when the officers check in.
The BCCA and 9/11 programs combine exercise, nutritional supplements and a dry sauna – the three key ingredients to a successful detoxification program.
"There is a huge track record for this specific program," Shurtleff said. He also believes the testimonials and big name will influence officers considering the program, and benefactors donating to the cause.
"They are out there protecting you and me, and now they are suffering," Shurtleff said.
According to drug-rehabs.org, many Utah officers who investigated meth labs in the 1980s and 1990s have since developed liver, kidney, and esophageal cancers, strokes and other health problems. Only in the last five to 10 years have officers started wearing fully enclosed suits to enter and take down meth labs.
"We have this whole group of cops who are sick from being unprotected," Shurtleff said.
The New York 9/11 Rescue Workers Detoxification Project was started following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to treat workers.
Ross, the staff physician at BCCA, has studied environmental medicine and detoxification programs, and said he understands why Shurtleff decided to use the 9/11 program instead of BCCA's, based on the number of people it has helped, and the good results it has.
"Our programs are like cousins," Ross said.
The out-patient program takes about four to six weeks, and requires dedication, according to Leesa Nuttall, a founder of BCCA. Those using it will typically spend six hours a day rotating between exercising, sweating in a sauna, drinking water, taking supplements and showering. The process eliminates toxins from the blood stream directly, which also helps take away an addicts' cravings.
"Most rescue workers sweat blue as their body releases the toxins," Phillips said.
Last fall, BCCA was considering closing its doors because of the lack of community support, and Nuttall considers Shurtleff a hero for the company.
The group has spent nearly two years working to develop a nonprofit status to help addicts in Utah County get help, even if they can't pay for it.
BCCA has a 90 percent success rate, Nuttall said. Her own son is one of the nearly 20 people who have completed the program, and is an example to recovering addicts.
"I know it's a miracle that happens when a life is shattered because of this and that person is able to piece it back together," she said.
BCCA is committed to helping officers as long as there is a need. They estimate the facility could help as many as 60 by the end of July, Phillips said.
To learn more about BCCA, visit www.bio-cca.com, or call 224-7615.
Brooke Barker can be reached at 344-2559 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story appeared in The Daily Herald on page D1.