Methamphetamine misuse is a major problem in the United States. According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 1.6 million people used methamphetamine in that year. Just short of a million of those had a methamphetamine use disorder.
South Dakota recently decided to launch a $449,000 campaign about the issue, and it's gone viral, though maybe not for the reason they wanted. The campaign, which includes television ads, posters, a website, and billboards has raised eyebrows over the slogan: "Meth. We're on it."
"Meth and its use in South Dakota's growing at an alarming rate," Governor Kristi Noem said. "A lot of times you guys have seen campaigns that have to do with drugs or addiction that make people feel more hopeless or uncaring. That is not what this campaign is going to be."
"Every one of us in South Dakota can partner to be on meth. Really, the tagline is 'I'm on meth," Noem concluded.
Their promotional advertisement also includes several people declaring: "I'm on meth."
To be fair, the campaign designed by Minnesota-based ad agency Broadhead Co. was probably intended to turn some heads, and it has gone viral. According to Argus Leader, the state has already spent $449,000 on the campaign but could spend as much as $1.4 million.
In their proposal, Broadhead said the tagline "I'm on Meth" will create "a movement for all South Dakotans to take an active role in keeping their state a great place to live."
It's definitely created a movement on Twitter, where people have been joking about the slogan.
One user joked: "If I lived in South Dakota, I think I'd be on it to."
Another added: "If [South Dakota] is going to waste nearly half a million dollars on a stupid ad campaign please send some of that money my way."
Others simply saw the opportunity to make a Breaking Bad reference.
Another user shared some hilarious 'campaigns' for other drugs, writing: "Oh, no. It seems like the rest of South Dakota's anti-drug campaigns are just as bad as the 'Meth. We're On It.' campaign."
Despite the criticism, Governor Noem seems to think the campaign has been a success. She explained in a statement that the campaign was designed to raise awareness and get people talking about being part of the solution, not just the problem.
"The mission of the campaign is to raise awareness — to get people talking about how they can be part of the solution and not just the problem," Noem told Buzzfeed News. It is working."