FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 1, 2009
DRUG CZAR LAUNCHES NATIONWIDE METH PREVENTION ADVERTISING
Cites Progress in Anti-Meth Efforts and Importance of Cooperation Among Law Enforcement, Prevention, and Treatment to Continue the Fight
(St. Louis, MO)--The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director, Gil Kerlikowske, today unveiled a new anti-methamphetamine (meth) ad campaign launched in Missouri and across the country, with particular focus on 16 States where meth prevalence, and lab seizures and incidents, are high. Director Kerlikowske was joined by U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan (MO-03), Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, and Colonel James Keathley, Superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
"Despite the overall decline in meth usage across the country, we still have work to do," said Kerlikowske. "This drug leaves a path of destruction that affects individuals, families and entire communities. Only by working together, can we rid the Nation of this insidious drug. This campaign complements the hard work done on a daily basis by members of law enforcement and the drug prevention and treatment communities to prevent meth use and encourage those affected by meth to understand that recovery from meth addiction is possible."
The Anti-Meth Campaign, in its third year of coordination by ONDCP's National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, includes new advertising for TV, radio, print, Internet, billboards, and gas pumps. Using a "tiered" media approach, the Campaign ensures that all states receive a level of paid media support, with proportionally more media spending in 16 States with higher meth prevalence rates, based on national survey data, as well as a small group of Midwest States where meth lab seizures and incidents tend to be high. The new TV, radio, print, Internet, and out-of-home ads will run from September to November 2009 in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Nebraska. Additionally, radio ads and Internet search ads will run nationwide during the same time period.
The ads' messages focus on meth use prevention, as well as provide information for meth users and their families who are seeking recovery services. The primary target audience for the Anti-Meth Campaign is young adults, ages 18 to 34, whose meth use tends to be highest across the country. The new advertisements were created by Publicis & Hal Riney in San Francisco, the pro bono advertising agency, in coordination with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. In early 2010, the television ads will be available as free public service announcements (PSAs) for non-profits, State, and local government offices to customize and use in their own communities.
"Our communities have been fighting this problem for years, and we've learned that the key to victory is a comprehensive program of prevention, education, remediation and wraparound treatment," said U.S. Representative Russ Carnahan (MO-03). "The additional resources this new campaign is bringing into our state can only help bring us one step closer to winning the war against meth."
"In Missouri, members of law enforcement, criminal justice, drug prevention and treatment communities have been working diligently on the meth problem," said Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster. "But our work continues, and we still have further to go to ensure that our citizens are safe from meth. This campaign supports our work in law enforcement - and the work of our many community partners in drug prevention and treatment."
"We are pleased to welcome Director Kerlikowske and the dedicated representatives of St. Louis and Missouri law enforcement and criminal justice, drug prevention and treatment to launch this important ad campaign here in St. Louis," said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. "Meth is certainly a critical community problem, not just for the individuals who use it, but for the family, friends, and people working every day to fight the terrible scourge of methamphetamine."
According to the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than five percent of Americans age 12 and older have tried methamphetamine at least once in their lifetimes. In 2007, there were an estimated 529,000 current users of methamphetamine aged 12 or older. Missouri leads the Nation in reported meth lab seizures and incidents, according to recent data from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Josh, a Dunklin County, Missouri resident, is featured in the campaign's open letter print ad. The ad tells the story of Josh's meth initiation at age 17, which led to addiction, the loss of his job and house, and the trust of his family. Through a treatment program mandated through the Dunklin County Drug Court, administered by the Honorable Phillip Britt, Josh has fully recovered and now works as a junior drug counselor at an area treatment facility. Both Josh and Judge Britt, now Drug Court Commissioner of the 35th Judicial Circuit of Missouri, spoke at the press conference.
"We know that a comprehensive, community approach to fighting meth is vitally important, and this includes the message that recovery is possible," said Kerlikowske. "Josh's story illustrates that message and provides the real potential for hope to families struggling with the many effects of this devastating drug."
Meth is an addictive stimulant drug that can be taken orally, injected, snorted, or smoked. Often called "speed" or "ice," meth is available as a crystal-like powdered substance or in large rock-like chunks. Meth users are prone to violence and neglectful behavior that can affect their children and neighbors. The chemicals used in meth production are flammable and highly toxic, posing a threat to both the environment and residents.
For more information about the Anti-Meth Campaign, to view advertising and other resources, and to learn about how to order free PSAs, visit www.methresources.gov.
Since its inception in 1998, the ONDCP's National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign has conducted outreach to millions of parents, teens, and communities to prevent and reduce teen drug use. Counting on an unprecedented blend of public and private partnerships, non-profit community service organizations, volunteerism, and youth-to-youth communications, the Campaign is designed to reach Americans of diverse backgrounds with effective anti-drug messages.