South Dakota launched a new campaign Monday to battle a methamphetamine crisis that Gov. Kristi Noem says is “growing at an alarming rate.”
The tagline for the campaign: “Meth. We’re on it.” It’s made South Dakota the butt of many jokes, but Noem says the subject is no laughing matter.
Many anti-drug campaigns make people feel more hopeless or serve only to condemn users, she says. But this one will be different.
“This campaign is going to be about solutions and hope and how every single one of us in South Dakota can partner to be ‘on meth,'” she said, explaining the double entendre in a Facebook Live video.
“Really the tagline is, ‘I’m on meth,’ and what it’s talking about is each one of us, no matter who we are, that we’re on the case of meth — that we’re protecting our family, we’re protecting our friends, we’re protecting our communities from this epidemic that we see,” the governor said.
The launch of the nearly half-million-dollar campaign included a PSA from Noem on YouTube and a website. In the future, Noem said there will be commercials, billboards, Facebook ads and state agencies working with nonprofits to bring relief to people who are dealing with addiction and the meth epidemic.
The governor said 13 people in the state died from meth overdoses last year and that there were 3,000 arrests tied to meth.
There were 73 overdose deaths overall in South Dakota in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drug deaths were not in the state’s top 10 leading causes of death that year.
Noem said she believes South Dakota can lead the nation and be an example of treating addiction.
“While most of the country talks about opioids, that is an issue for us, but by far our largest issue is methamphetamine,” Noem said. “This is a strong campaign.”