Over the years, there have been a wide variety of Public Service Announcements (or PSAs) focused on the dangers of addiction. Many use unconventional tactics to get their message across, which have led to both positive and negative reactions from the public. The same can be said from a recent South Dakota campaign, which is using a unique tag line to alert viewers about crystal meth.
#MethWeAreOnIt is certainly eye-catching when thinking about a public service announcement. It is even more attention grabbing when you picture South Dakota governor Kristi Noem mouthing those words. But she is doing just that, informing people across the country about how hard this type of addiction has impacted her state.
“South Dakota’s meth crisis is growing at an alarming rate,” Noem explains in the 30 second clip. “It impacts every community in our state and threatens the success of the next generation. It is filling our jails and prisons, clogging our court systems, and stretching our drug treatment capacity while destroying people and their families. This is our problem, and together, we need to get on it.”
So, as you can see, the intent is say that the state is staying “on top of” the meth crisis and working to make a difference. But as you can probably expect from viral social media, many have interpreted that tag line differently.
Twitter influencer Lou Brutus felt the campaign was misguided, calling out its hefty $500,000 spending budget.
Noem, on the other hand, defended the hashtag and emphasized that the entire intent of the campaign was to get people talking.
The truth of the matter is, South Dakota does have a serious issue with meth addiction. According to stats shared on The Fix’s website, the amount of people who have sought out treatment in the state has doubled in the past four years. Meth-related arrests also skyrocketed, by as much as 625 percent over the past decade.
To help support the cause, the governor’s office also launched an OnMeth.com website, which has resources for those looking to get help. There is also an advocacy component of the page, which allows people to take action if someone close to them has been impacted.
We certainly think it’s a good cause and, at the end of the day, agree with Governor Noem’s sentiment. If this hashtag can stir up attention and get people talking, more power to them.
You can watch the complete PSA below…