Saturday, July 07, 2007

Anti-meth campaign is an attempt to keep families together

Anti-meth program offers help, hope
Muller, Heath. Erkeka Reporter, June 27, 2007.

Methamphetamine affects everyone, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors was told Tuesday during an update on the county’s anti-methamphetamine campaign, sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services.

And “everyone” is the target group of a series of TV, radio and newspaper advertisements announcing the number of a new methamphetamine hotline.

“We’re reaching family members who have a loved one with a problem,” said Leslie Lollich, DHHS public education and outreach officer. “We’re reaching users who are calling for treatment options, neighbors who may have a lab down the street and are calling for solutions and people who are concerned about children being exposed.”

Radio ads began in April, with TV ads rolling out in June.

Lollich said the volume of calls to the hotline is increasing — and confirms that the campaign is reaching a broad audience.

Craig Hill, senior program manager for the county’s Alcohol and Other Drugs Programs, told the board calls have come in from Arcata, Eureka, Ferndale and McKinleyville, with callers seeking treatment, Neighborhood Watch information, support and referral information for friends and family and assistance in contacting child welfare services.

One caller simply thanked campaign organizers for their efforts.

“I don’t have any problems with meth, but I know it’s just destroyed a lot of families,” stated a transcript of the call. “It’s a huge problem. Thank you for the ad.”

Mike Goldsby, program manager for Health Education, said the visual imagery of the advertisements was carefully chosen.

“There are many disturbing images associated with methamphetamine addiction, and we did not use that imagery,” he said. “We wanted to avoid glamorizing the use of methamphetamine, and we wanted to avoid stereotyping users. Many methamphetamine users do not fit the stereotypes.

“We hope that this effort gets people to realize that we are all affected by methamphetamines, directly or indirectly, and we can all get involved in the solutions.”

Lollich said an “average-looking” family was chosen for the TV spots, to convey the message that methamphetamine problems can happen to anyone, and that recovery is possible.

Despite the devastating effects of methamphetamine on communities, families and individuals, the message of the campaign is ultimately optimistic.

“We want to encourage youth,” Goldsby said. “If you haven’t used meth, don’t start. We want to encourage adults. If you’ve started using meth, get help and stop now.”

Hill reiterated the message in his closing remarks to the board.

“Thank you for your support and encouragement in letting the community know that there is help and hope for those affected by methamphetamine.”

The number for the methamphetamine hotline is 707-476-4054.


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