LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – While the opioid epidemic earns a great deal of attention, methamphetamine is currently Arkansas’s greatest drug threat, which is why the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) is launching the “Me Over Meth” prevention campaign.
“Methamphetamines have a devastating impact on the body,” Arkansas State Drug Director Kirk Lane said. “Repeated use of the drug can cause major physical changes that accumulate over time. We have to take action now and focus on prevention to stop this cycle.”
Lane says by itself, methamphetamine use is dangerous and deadly enough. But the common practice of using methamphetamine along with other illicit substances like fentanyl has made it even more damaging.
“Because of the rise of fentanyl, co-occurring opioid and methamphetamine use has doubled from 2011 to 2017,” Lane noted.
According to DHS, the issue is not unique to Arkansas. According to information from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), roughly two million people in the United States aged 12 years or older use meth in any given year. Every day, 500 people in the United States try meth for the first time.
In response, the Department of Human Services Division of Aging, Adult, and Behavioral Health Services (DAABHS) and the Arkansas Drug Director have created the “Me Over Meth” campaign to raise awareness of the threat to Arkansas. The prevention campaign is aimed at building community capacity to eradicate methamphetamine in our state.
“Life in its natural state is full of gifts,” said DAABHS Prevention Manager Tenesha Barnes. “The focus of the ‘Me Over Meth’ campaign is to encourage everyone to commit to choosing the things that matter most – like your family, your future, and your community – over meth.”
As part of the “Me Over Meth” campaign, DHS will:
• Hold a “Me Over Meth” prevention-focused conference on May 9 at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel in North Little Rock offering practical, useful information and best practices on educating Arkansans and preventing meth use in local communities.
• Provide a downloadable toolkit that includes graphics, flyers, and social media content promoting the “Me Over Meth” message.
• Launch a website dedicated to providing more information and resources about meth use, prevention, and recovery.