A new season of signs could promote the positives

 Tribune Editorial

        Without prolonging the anti-meth sign dust-up any further than needs to be, here is yet another angle to consider. 

It’s clear the Montana Meth Project  has been a successful program. Since its   inception in 2005, methamphetamine use use among teenagers in Montana has fallen below the national average. Once ranked as number five in the nation for meth use, Montana has dropped to 39. As a result meth-related crimes have also seen a significant decrease.
The Montana Meth Project was recently recognized by Barron’s magazine as the third most effective philanthropy in the world.
The repulsive images displayed in anti-meth ads and in many of the “Paint the State” billboards across the state have worked. Images of skeletons, monsters and those who have used the drug have vividly portrayed the devastating results of methamphetamine use.  These stomach-turning pictures have created dialogue and forced many of us to address a topic that may otherwise be easily pushed aside.
The anti-meth messages have no doubt given many young people cause to take heed.
The season of showing the ugly side of meth use has been effective. Now, maybe it’s time to consider integrating a new season. 
Would there be anything wrong with presenting the positives of living a clean, drug-free life? How about giving young people statewide the opportunity to create their own logo and images portraying the benefits of healthy living? Using Montana’s wide varying sceneries as a backdrop, the images really could be endless. From horseback riding, skiing, hiking, fishing, hunting or just simply enjoying the outdoors, experiencing the real highs of life could easily be depicted. 
Some could argue that the shock value would be lost and less attention would be given to the anti-meth campaign. But it’s just as likely a positive message may inspire many to take a chance, try something new and experience life’s real extremes. 
Rather than detracting from drug use, could attracting people to clean living be just as effective? It’s a question worthy of considering.  

Published Dec. 8, 2010


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