Montana's been running a brutal, expensive, cutting-edge anti-crystal meth campaign for a year. Why do those of us outside Big Sky Country care? Because Montana's program is tipped to expand to other states; unlike in Montana, where media groups split the cost of ads, the bill's probably going to come out of your taxes. The Missoula Independent's Jessie McQuillan has a great, long backgrounder on the program, its hype, its effects, and the nature of the meth discussion in Montana.
For the last five years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's National Survey on Drug Use and Health has consistently found 0.2 percent of Americans reported meth use within a month of the survey. Four times as many Americans reported regular cocaine use; 30 times more reported regular marijuana use and 90 times more reported binge drinking, according to the report's data. Seizure of meth labs nationwide fell by more than 30 percent nationwide in 2005–66 percent in Montana specifically–and the leading provider of workplace drug testing reported a 31 percent decrease in positive meth tests in the first half of 2006, and a 45 percent decrease since 2004.
The same period has seen increasing amounts of ever-more intense media coverage. In August 2005, Newsweek called meth an "epidemic" and a "plague" and slapped the headline "America's Most Dangerous Drug" on its cover.
It's been a full month since the last ridiculous meth news. See you in September!