Office of Drug Control Policy
Office of National Drug Control Policy and Partnership for a Drug-Free America Bring Communications Campaign Targeting Methamphetamine to Kentucky

Press Release Date:  Thursday, December 08, 2005  
Contact Information:  Contact Stacy Floden
(502) 564-8220
(502)-382-7155(Cell)
 


LOUISVILLE, KY Dec 5th — The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America today announced the start of a new advertising campaign in Kentucky targeting the illicit drug methamphetamine. Designed to mobilize individuals and local community groups to reduce meth use at the local level, the new effort will launch in Louisville—one of 23 U.S. cities to receive the ad campaign.

 John Walters, Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) stated, “The methamphetamine challenge has touched communities across this Nation differently, but its devastating consequences are borne by all Americans. By helping to educate our citizens about the misery and destruction meth causes, we can work to make this problem smaller. Together with our state and local partners, we are aggressively pushing back against the drug and are working to make America a safer place.”

The ad campaign combines real-life stories of people impacted by methamphetamine with scenarios that depict the unique secondhand threat meth poses to communities at large. The campaign’s two main themes, “So, Who Has the Drug Problem Now?” and “End Meth in Your Town” challenge individuals to learn more about the threats meth poses to both their families and their communities.

“With concern about meth spreading across America and being introduced to a new generation unfamiliar with the lethal nature of this drug, preventative action is essential,” said Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of the Partnership. “If we can persuade parents and community leaders to take a stand against this drug, we can ensure that meth will not become the next drug of choice of a new generation.”

Methamphetamine is an addictive stimulant drug that can be taken orally, injected, snorted or smoked. Often called “speed” or “crystal,” meth is available as a crystal-like powdered substance or in large rock-like chunks.

Once a threat largely in the Southwest, use and production of methamphetamine has moved steadily eastward, with especially severe impact on the Midwest, Northwest, and portions of the South. Meth users are prone to violence and neglectful behavior that can affect their children and neighbors, and the chemicals used in meth production are flammable and highly toxic, posing a twofold threat to the environment and residents.

Nationwide, approximately 12 million people have tried meth at least once, with 1.4 million people reporting use in the past year. While national prevalence data show meth use in the United States is slowly declining, illegal meth labs continue to threaten communities and strain local law enforcement resources in affected regions.

 Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Steve Pence joined with ONDCP and the Partnership to announce the statewide initiative. "Methamphetamine has literally devastated some communities in the commonwealth, but Kentucky is not going to surrender to this deadly addiction," he said. "We are committed to winning the battle against meth, but we need help.  I commend the ONDCP and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America for their efforts to energize public awareness with this new campaign."
"As all Kentuckians know, we have a serious problem with methamphetamine abuse throughout the Commonwealth,” said Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY). “These drugs are destroying not only our children's bodies and minds, but also families and communities. And this new advertising campaign will send an important message about the dangers of this deadly drug and hopefully help reduce the use of meth in our state."
The advertising campaigns were created pro bono for the Partnership by two agencies, Leo Burnett of Chicago and J. Walter Thompson of New York. The research-based campaigns were subject to rigorous qualitative testing, and proved resonant among community members, spurring them to seek information on meth and to take part in their community’s efforts to fight the drug.  All advertising spots direct audiences to a newly-created micro-site on the Partnership’s Web site, www.drugfree.org/meth.

Congresswoman Anne M. Northup said, "Meth use has spread throughout Kentucky and is so destructive to families.  More and more children in Kentucky and across the nation are being taken away from addicted parents, devastating relationships and lives.  I applaud the ONDCP for initiating this public awareness campaign.  By educating everyone about real-life stories, we can help to confront the drug problem."

The anti-meth ads will also run in Atlanta, Austin, Cedar Rapids, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Des Moines, Grand Rapids, Miami, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Portland, Raleigh-Durham, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Francisco, Seattle, Savannah, Springfield and Tampa/St. Petersburg.

For more information about methamphetamine, please visit www.drugfree.org/meth or www.methresources.gov.