Campaign Highlights Horror Of Meth

Methamphetamine abuse may be the biggest drug problem facing U.S. law enforcement today. Not only is the drug relatively cheap and easy to make, it can be instantly addictive and desperate users often turn to violence to fuel their habit.

Now a Silicon Valley entrepreneur is trying to do something about it, as national correspondent Hattie Kauffman reported for The Early Show Wednesday.

Tom Siebel owns an 85,000 acre ranch in Montana, but he's better known as the billionaire founder of Silicon Valley's Siebel Systems. Now he's throwing himself into a very different sort of project, the Montana Meth Project, which he created in an effort to stop the spread of meth addiction.

"This is the most addictive substance known to man. And 25 percent of the young people in Montana see no risk in giving it a try," Siebel told Kauffman (video).

Siebel is publicizing the risk by blanketing the state with shockingly graphic TV spots (video), so alarming that Kauffman said she got goose bumps from watching them, an effect that Siebel said was exactly what he had intended.

"We attempted to be very, very realistic," he said. "I mean this is what it's like, OK? This is what it's like before, this is what it's like after."

Since its launch in September, the Montana Meth Project has become the No. 1 buyer of ads in the state. In addition to the TV and radio spots, there are billboards across the state targeting teenagers. One of them shows a disgusting, dirty bathroom and reads: No one thinks they'll lose their virginity here. Meth will change that.

Speaking to teenagers in Montana, Kauffman found that the campaign has them talking.

Miranda Murray: "It's just so effective, it's scary."

Kasi Thompson: "At first I didn't know what was going on, I was like, 'What am I watching?' Afterwards, I was like, 'Ooh, stay away from meth.' "

Jeff Stivers: "You can't just take them off the air because they're so in-your-face and so shocking, that they're kind of forcing people to come to this issue."

Allison Gossack: "You know it prompts a conversation, it prompts parents talking to their kids and explaining it to them, and that's where it needs to start."

At the high school in Great Falls, Mont., nearly every student knows someone taking methamphetamine or, sometimes, making it.

"My sixth grade art teacher was caught with a lab in his basement," said Mike Gerrity.
  • Polly Leider

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