AP NEWS

Tribal leaders embrace South Dakota anti-meth ad campaign

November 22, 2019 GMT

ROSEBUD INDIAN RESERVATION, S.D. (AP) — Native American tribal leaders in South Dakota are backing an anti-meth ad campaign that has been mocked because of its slogan, “Meth. We’re on it.”

Gov. Kristi Noem considers methamphetamine abuse an epidemic in the state and has rolled out a nearly $1.4 million campaign to raise awareness about it.

Although the tagline has been getting ridiculed on social media, state Secretary of Tribal Affairs Dave Flute said he supports it.

“There is a lot to talk about when it comes to how meth is impacting our tribal communities,” he said.

Flute was one of tribal leaders who attended the second State-Tribal Meth Summit on Tuesday, which was aimed at discussing solutions to the meth problem.

“(Meth is) not a part of our culture. Those aren’t things that our ancestors did,” Flute said at the summit in Mission.

Flute told KELO-TV on Thursday that he’s most concerned about children getting involved with the drug.

“Kids are being used to traffic these drugs, they’re being used to deal these drugs, they’re being used as runners, and that’s really concerning for everything,” he said.

According to the state’s Department of Social Services, the number of 12- to 17-year-olds who reported using meth in the last year is double the national average. The state has also seen the number of people seeking treatment for meth addiction double from 2014 to 2018.

During the summit, Rosebud Sioux Tribal president Rodney M. Bordeaux said he met with two people who are in a meth treatment facility.

“I had a great talk with them. I really encouraged them. They came up to me and told me of their issues that they’re dealing with meth and how it took over their lives,” he said.

“We also want to make sure that we’re continuing this battle along with the governor and the State of South Dakota to make an impact against this evil,” Bordeaux said. “It’s all about saving our people.”

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Information from: KELO-TV, http://www.keloland.com