Fighting the stigma of “Methingham” is no easy task. Thankfully, the community has a powerful new tool to help in its war against meth.
Based on the successful Montana Meth Project, the Georgia Meth Project came to Effingham last week to show what it’s about and what it can do.
It’s a prevention campaign — it’s not a treatment or enforcement endeavor. But its message is clear and simple on the dangers and effects of methamphetamines.
To back its slogan, “Not Even Once,” the Georgia Meth Project is trying to depict how easily and quickly meth users can get hooked. It’s a drug more addictive than cocaine or heroin. And the crash after a meth binge is a hard, severe one.
The Georgia Meth Project has begun its offensive against use with a series of gripping radio and television ads. For a generation that remembers the “Scared Straight” series and the brutally frank nature of those programs, these spots are reminiscent. They are provocative and for a reason.
With these radio and television ads — which can be accessed on www.georgiamethproject.org — they want to make no bones about what meth can do to somebody.
The radio ads, 23 of them to be played on Georgia stations, “are real kids telling real stories,” Georgia Meth Project executive director Jim Langford said. “These are not exaggerations.”
Yet even some of the stories related pale in comparison to the accounts Langford receives in his e-mail.
Results from the Montana Meth Project show that the campaign works. In September 2005, Montana was fifth in the nation for meth abuse. It’s now 39th. Teen meth use has declined by 63 percent. Adult meth use has declined by 72 percent. There has been a 62 percent decrease in meth-related crime.
The ads and the campaign tilt toward a younger demographic, because that’s the group most vulnerable to the allure of meth. Georgia Meth Project shows that 35 percent of the state’s teens surveyed see little or no risk in trying meth.
That’s where “Not Even Once” comes into play, hoping to show kids and young adults that there is a great deal of risk in trying meth.
The Effingham County Sheriff’s Office has had its hands full in finding and arresting meth makers and dealers over the last few years. It has curtailed meth activity, but it still needs help in its fight. It needs for those who might try meth not to do it. It needs the help of the Georgia Meth Project to spread the message.
It’s a message worth hearing and repeating.