Sunday, February 24, 2008

Alabama Launches Zero-Meth Campaign

Despite what you might think I fully support these types of educational efforts to reduce methamphetimine use. The same approach has lowered tobacco smoking rates among youth. Now, if only they would stop arresting and imprisoning folks addicted to the nasty stuff and start a program where a physician could prescribe Desoxyn and offer treatment. This approach would also virtually eleminate meth labs that endanger whole communities.

State goes on offensive against crystal meth

By Jay Reeves
The Associated Press

The state unveiled a $1 million ad campaign Friday aimed at scaring Alabama teenagers away from trying methamphetamine with images of strung-out addicts with rotten teeth.

The project, called Zerometh, received generally good reviews. But an expert said the campaign could use more information about science and sex, a prime reason many people get hooked on the highly addictive drug.

Put together by the governor's office and state prosecutors with funding from members of the state's congressional delegation, the Zerometh campaign will include billboards, print ads, TV commercials and an Internet site.

Etowah County District Attorney Jimmie Harp, who helped lead the project for the Alabama District Attorneys Association, said leaders particularly want to target rural areas where meth has become an overwhelming problem.

"We basically want to send out the message that the only way to win the game is not to play it," said Harp.

Zerometh commercials will appear within TV shows that appeal to young viewers.

"Free PSAs would have been absolutely useless," Harp said. "What we had to do was buy (time on) American Idol, buy CSI, buy MTV."

The head of the Alabama-based Mothers Against Methamphetamine, Dr. Mary Holley of Arab, said Zerometh should grab the attention of young people with its edgy design and stark images.

"Kids respond to pictures more than anything you can write or say, and these pictures are fabulous," Holley said while looking at the Zerometh Web page.

But, she said, the campaign would be even better if it was more honest by addressing the scientific evidence against meth and the common belief that the drug improves sexual performance.

Experts say the drug can boost the sex drive at first, but it quickly leads to the loss of sexual function. Hitting the sexual aspect of the drug head-on would be most effective since many first-time users try meth for its perceived benefits in bed, she said.

"Kids are probably going to discount a lot of it if you don't tell the whole story," said Holley.

The head of a group that helped start anti-meth projects in five states said results elsewhere indicate the Alabama campaign should help keep young people off the drug. In Montana, use of the drug declined in the two years after a campaign started in 2005.

"The decline in adult meth use was 70 percent, the largest of anywhere in the country. Youth use was down 45 percent," said Nitsa Zuppas, executive director of the Siebel Foundation, which started the anti-meth campaign there.





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3 comments:

ShavenYak said...

I especially loved seeing the Zero Meth commercial on Nickelodeon the other night while my six year old daughter and I were watching "Fairly Odd Parents". Brilliant targeting there. I'm sure meth is a big problem in the kindergarten classroom.

Loretta Nall said...

shaven yak.....what was the commercial like? I haven't seen any of them yet.

Hopefully be better than this one produced by the ONDCP which might encourage housewives and soccer moms to get some so they can keep their house clean and not grow beards.

Meth SOng

Brandon Wynn said...

I believe this campaign could work to curb first-time users. People that are already users won't get the point. Which brings me to the new prescription drugs commercials on television that basically is instructing kids how to score from their parents' medicine cabinets. That's really going to help.