PROVINCE LAUNCHES ANTI-METH TV CAMPAIGN
A TV commercial depicting crystal meth users vomiting, fighting and breaking out in sores is hitting the airwaves as part of a $450,000 government campaign aimed at preventing young people from using the drug.
Cheap and highly addictive, crystal meth has ravaged several northwestern U.S. states and is threatening to make serious inroads in Alberta.
The four-week television campaign launched by the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission this week is part of a public awareness strategy to deter youths from trying crystal meth in the first place.
"We want to avoid any further progress of this drug," said Calgary-Lougheed MLA Dave Rodney, who is the chairman of AADAC.
One of the two commercials mimics a prescription drug ad and depicts a smiling couple while a narrator extols the "benefits" of crystal meth.
"Crystal meth can make you feel more like you -- only a more confident, sexier, more powerful you," it says.
Meth is a central nervous system stimulant which can indeed make users feel energetic, confident and alert. With prolonged use, however, addicts can become paranoid and violent and can suffer potentially life-threatening physical ailments -- a point driven home in the commercial as the once-smiling woman vomits and the man's face breaks out in sores.
Although the ads may be enough to dissuade some people from trying meth, one recovering addict said many drug users begin taking it while fully aware of the damage it does.
"I don't think creating awareness is a bad thing -- it'll have some effect," said Evan, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "But a lot of people, from my experience, are so full of their own thinking that they'll laugh (the campaign) off," said the 20-year-old Calgarian, who has been clean for more than two years.
Evan credits treatment for his turnaround, but added he was put on a waiting list before he could begin his rehabilitation.
In Calgary, a recent undercover investigation turned up 675 grams of meth
-- an amount not often seen in this city.