An in-your-face campaign against methamphetamine may be shocking many Montana teens into not using the drug, reports the Kansas City Star. States like Arizona and Idaho are so taken with the ads they've started similar campaigns. An arm of the White House has launched its own prevention effort, airing some Montana ads in eight states where meth use is high. Kansas is looking for ways to fund the expensive project. Officials in Missouri aren't yet sold on it.
One television ad shows a businessman leaving a hotel room. Inside, there's a young woman in her underwear, with the implication being she just sold her body for drug money. A newspaper ad depicts a dirty public bathroom, graffiti on the wall and the toilet seat up, with the words, “No one thinks they'll lose their virginity here. Meth will change that.” “We needed to stigmatize meth,” said Peg Shea of the Montana Meth Project. Montana's 2007 Youth Risk Behavior survey, released last month, found that in the project's two years, teen meth use decreased 45 percent. In contrast, a national survey showed meth use by teens slightly increased. These statistics have made believers of early skeptics, like Rick Rawson of the University of California-Los Angeles. “I didn't think they were going to make a major impact with what were pretty much messages that said, 'If you take it once, you'll get addicted and end up on the street as a prostitute or something,' ” he said. “But it's taught us something about this approach, that it can produce very powerful effects.”