Pubdate: Mon, 22 Jan 2007
Source: Desert Sun, The (Palm Springs, CA)
Copyright: 2007 The Desert Sun
Note: Does not accept LTEs from outside circulation area.
Author: Jake Henshaw
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Bookmark: (Treatment)


Broadcast Effort Will Begin With Public Service Advertisements

The state of California and an anti-drug group this week are kicking 
off the state's first broadcast campaign to prevent methamphetamine 
use and to encourage users to seek treatment, officials said.

People seek treatment for meth use more than for any other drug 
problem in the state, a health official said.

The campaign will open with public service advertisements on 
television and radio in the state's five biggest media markets and 
then expand to other markets.

By summer, the effort will broaden into a $10 million campaign that 
will include paid TV advertisements and community outreach programs 
to increase awareness of the risks of producing and using the illegal drug.

"Methamphetamine is the No. 1 drug in California in our treatment 
admissions data," said Kathryn Jett, director of the state Department 
of Alcohol and Drug Programs.

"It sounds like it would be helpful," said Riverside County sheriff's 
investigator Jerry Franchville, who had not seen details of the campaign.

In 2005, 77,000 individuals were treated for using the drug in 
California, representing 40 percent of the nation's total.

"Treatment admissions for methamphetamine continue to climb as we 
speak today," Jett added.

Methamphetamine is an addictive stimulant that can be used orally, 
injected, snorted or smoked.

It can lead to extreme weight loss and dental deterioration, and it 
can cause behavioral and mental problems such as sleeplessness, 
violent behavior and severe depression.

It is primarily a regional epidemic in the western United States and 
has been combated largely through local, state and federal 
enforcement, Jett said, with special task forces in areas such as the 
Central Valley, where meth labs have been concentrated.

Last year, she said, the governor and state Legislature approved $10 
million to widen the counterattack to include a public education 
campaign intended to prevent the drug's use and to steer users into 
treatment programs.

The program is targeting:

Women of childbearing age. Methamphetamine is the drug most abused by 
pregnant women: 57 percent of such abusers who are treated have used 
methamphetamine, followed by 12 percent for marijuana and 11 percent 
for heroin.

Gay men. They are 10 to 20 times more likely than the general public 
to use methamphetamine and four times as likely to become HIV positive.

Teens ages 12 to 17.

The black-and-white public-service advertisements were produced in 
English and Spanish at no charge by media companies for The 
Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the state's nonprofit partner in 
the campaign.

The ads use such scenes as a meth lab, a burned-out forest and a 
physically scarred abuser to deliver messages of the personal, 
environmental and economic dangers of abuse and to promote treatment.

"Treatment works for meth addiction," Jett said.

Backers hope the campaign will prompt communities to focus on the 
local impact of methamphetamine and how to address it.

"We are trying to get communities to discuss the problem," Jett said.
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