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Fighting Meth With Misinformation in Idaho

There is no question that methamphetamine is a potentially dangerous drug. Communities that take steps to prevent people from starting to use it in the first place are to be lauded. But if such efforts are to be credible with their target audiences, they need to include accurate information, not scary, demonizing distortions. Unfortunately, Blaine County, Idaho, is not doing that. In a new brochure from the Blaine County Sheriff's Office and the Community Drug Coalition written by a sheriff's office employee, comes the following amazing claim:
"One of the biggest dangers of meth is how quickly people can become addicted to it," the brochure says. "The National Methamphetamine Awareness Campaign says that 99 percent of people are hooked on meth after using it the first time."
Oh, come on. Yes, people can become dependent on meth. Yes, it is a drug whose biopharmacological effects make people want to binge on it. But no, 99% of people who try meth once are not hooked on it. And spewing such garbage—at taxpayer expense, no less!—is counterproductive at best. Here's what the federal government's meth resources web page has to say about methamphetamine addiction: "Long-term methamphetamine abuse results in many damaging effects, including addiction." Note that the site says long-term use, not one-time use. Neither do other federal government statistics back up the 99% claim. The 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the most recent available, notes that 10.4 million people over the age of 12 reported using meth at least once in their lives, but only 512,000 reported current (last month) use. Even if we assume that everyone who reported using within the last month is an addict (and that's not a very reasonable assumption), we find that only about 5% of people who ever used meth are currently addicted. It is possible, I suppose, that the remaining 93% of all meth users ever got strung out on their first line, but have since managed to beat the addiction. If that's the case, which I doubt, they didn't get the monkey off their backs through drug treatment. In 1992, 21,000 were admitted for meth treatment; by 2004, that number was up to 150,000. But the number of people reporting using meth that year was 1.3 million. Of past year meth users, a little more than 10% got treatment in 2004, whether they sought it themselves or were forced into it. If you want to discourage people from using meth, you need to be believable. Unfortunately for Blaine County, Idaho, it has produced an anti-meth brochure that is more laughable than believable. Next they'll be telling me meth will make hair grow on the palms of my hands.
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I feel like we need to do what ever we can to prevent more people from becoming addicted to meth and if scare tactics are what works then they should be used. Teenagers don't listen to factual information, they just dismiss it as more boring crap adults have to preach to them. They respond better to shocking information. Maybe 99 percent of people don't get addicted the first time, but they are that much more likely to try it a second time and a third and they WILL become addicted. Something has got to be done and you can't blame people for trying what ever they have seen to be effective in other places.
I just hope it will have some impact on our future generations so that maybe someday we won't have to worry about meth killing people we love.
p.s. your time log is wrong on this sit, it's only 11:38pm

"if scare tactics are what

"if scare tactics are what works then they should be used" Honestly lady its a free country based around the premis of freedom. Any person should have the right to do whatever they want to about there own body that includes what goes into it aslong as they dont "Physicaly" harm another in the process. Anyone that believes otherwise is baseing there view around a thesist base or misinformation and wish to enforce there beliefs on everyone else


the addiction rate is that high i doubt youve ever smoked meth or live in area where its a true epidemic. You base your statistics off of people who have ever tried to how many use it now. The way your argument is presented if someone smoked it for 10 years quit according to yoru argument they were never addicted because they are not a current user.

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