South Dakota’s “I’m on Meth” Drug Campaign Was Meant to Be “Provocative,” Official Says

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South Dakota state-sponsored anti-drug campaign has gone wild on social media, thanks to its headline: “Meth. We’re on It.”

And much of the attention comes in the form of mockery and derision.

Widespread needling is fine with Laurie Gill, secretary of the Department of Social Services, who paid nearly $ 500,000 for the ad campaign. “We feel like we’ve caught the nation’s attention,” she told InsideEdition.com on Wednesday, and that’s what she and her fellow state employees wanted.

They set out to produce a campaign that was “provocative and would stop people in their tracks,” she said. They also wanted an educational effort unlike all the other anti-drug ads. “At this point, we feel like we’re going through it all,” she said.

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It is certainly true.

Republican Governor Kristi Noem, who took office in January, has made methamphetamine addiction a top priority.

“The methamphetamine crisis in South Dakota is growing at an alarming rate,” she said in a statement this week. “It impacts every community in our state and threatens the success of the next generation… This is our problem, and together we must tackle it.”

In the state, the number of young people aged 12 to 17 who reported using methamphetamine in the past year is double the national average, according to a recent survey. The number of people seeking treatment for methamphetamine addiction doubled from 2014 to 2018, according to South Dakota records.

“The statistics are alarming,” said Gill. “The pressure this puts on our society is great.” Authorities are trying to determine why young people are increasingly trying this highly addictive drug, she said. Meanwhile, the state is investing more money in college drug education programs so that by the time students get to high school, they will know what methamphetamine looks like, what it does, and how to tell if someone uses it, said Gill.

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The new ad campaign, which began Monday, features an older man, a high school athlete, a young girl and a Native American woman who all say they take methamphetamine.

The ads involved “using South Dakotas who obviously aren’t meth users and saying ‘yes this is a problem and it affects us all,” said Gill.

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