Law enforcement officials, drug counselors, and state legislators agree—there has never been a drug as powerful, addictive, and quick to destroy lives and communities as methamphetamine. Meth is the top drug of choice and the #1 drug problem in central and southern Illinois. The financial and social consequences of Meth abuse are devastating and Meth is increasingly gaining popularity among Illinois' most vulnerable—teens and young adults.
The Illinois Meth Project is a large-scale prevention program aimed at reducing first-time Meth use through public service messaging, public policy, and community outreach. Central to the program is a research-based marketing campaign that graphically communicates the risks of Meth use. The Meth Project has been repeatedly cited as a powerful private-sector response to a devastating social problem and was recently recognized by the White House as one of the nation's most effective prevention programs.
The Meth Project was conceived and founded by businessman Thomas M. Siebel. First launched in Montana as the Montana Meth Project, the program is focused solely on prevention. Since its inception in 2005, the Meth Project has achieved substantial results. In Montana, Meth use among teens has declined by 63%6, Meth-related crime has dropped 62%7, and the number of workers testing positive for Meth has declined by 72%8, the largest drop in the country. The Meth Project has since expanded its programs into Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, and Wyoming.
The Meth Project's core message, Not Even Once®, speaks directly to the highly addictive nature of Meth. Every day, people are faced with the decision to try Meth. Many perceive benefits in using the drug, but little to no risk. This is the root of the problem. The goal of the Illinois Meth Project is to arm teens and young adults across the state with the facts about methamphetamine so that they can make well-informed decisions when presented with the opportunity to try it.
The Illinois Meth Project conducts extensive surveys and focus group research to more thoroughly understand attitudes and behaviors related to methamphetamine in Illinois. This research provides the foundation for Illinois Meth Project's messaging and communication programs.
The Illinois Meth Project's research-based, high impact advertising graphically portrays the ravages of Meth use. The saturation-level campaign reaches 70-90% of teens, 3-5 times a week with prevention messaging spanning TV, radio, outdoor, newspapers, and the Internet.
The program, which has gained nationwide attention for its uncompromising approach and demonstrated impact, has won 45 awards, including 11 Gold ADDY Awards, 19 Silver ADDY Awards, 2 Gold Effie Awards, and the Cannes Lions Award at the Cannes International Advertising Festival.
The Illinois Meth Project activities increase awareness of the critical nature of the Meth problem, influencing and escalating public dialogue to find solutions. Coordinating closely with local, state, and federal agencies, the Illinois Meth Project organizes a broad range of community outreach programs that mobilize communities to assist in Meth awareness and prevention activities.
1 Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration Data: Illinois. "Compiled Rankings of State Methamphetamine Arrests/Seizures from 2004 DEA Data." 2004.
2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Drug and Alcohol Services Information System (DASIS). "Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS)." 2003.
3 National Association of Counties, "The Meth Epidemic in America - Two Surveys of U.S. Counties: The Criminal Effect of Meth on Communities, The Impact of Meth on Children," July 2005.
4 Professor J. Fred Giertz, University of Illinois. 2007.
5 Montana Office of Public Instruction, 2009 Montana Youth Risk Behavior Survey. June 2009.
6, 7 Montana Attorney General, Mike McGrath. Methamphetamine in Montana: A Follow-up Report on Trends and Progress. April 2008.