Meth Changes Everything
A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:
Over the past several years, South Dakota has seen a rise in the use of methamphetamine, or meth. In our state, 3.8 percent of high school students have tried meth. That is slightly higher than the national average of 3 percent. Approximately 15,000 South Dakotans, age 12 and up, were dependent on or abused illicit drugs in 2015, including meth.
Meth is a powerful and highly addictive stimulant which affects the central nervous system and results in devastating side-effects. It is a white, odorless, bitter-tasting powder and can be ingested in a variety of ways. No matter what you call it, or how it’s used, the effects are all the same.
Meth users experience significant anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood disturbances, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions and violent behavior. Addicts experience several physical effects as well including weight loss, tooth decay, tooth loss and skin sores. Meth causes mental and physical changes. In most cases, those changes are permanent.
In South Dakota, we are committed to being “smart on crime.” We use data-driven, evidence-based practices to protect the public and hold offenders accountable.
We also recognize that we need to be tough on the causes of crime. Using meth is a crime itself, but it can also lead users to commit other crimes. In 2015, there were 2,125 meth related arrests in 46 South Dakota counties. This is a 40 percent increase from meth related arrests in 2014.
South Dakota needs to focus on preventing meth use. This month, the Department of Social Services has created an awareness campaign, “Meth Changes Everything,” to promote prevention and provide education to students and South Dakota communities.
In the coming months, communities across the state will have the opportunity to meet with prevention providers to learn more about what can be done to prevent meth use. There is also an opportunity for schools to provide valuable information to students on the effects and dangers of meth, and how this addictive drug can permanently change their lives and the lives of those around them.
Please join me in our effort to end meth use in South Dakota by taking the pledge atwww.methchangeseverything.com. The website also provides information about meth use, resources for individuals seeking help and treatment and candid stories from recovering meth addicts. By working together, we can help shape the future of our great state and end meth use in South Dakota.