South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) is defending the state’s beginning of an anti-drug campaign with the slogan “Meth, we’re on it.”
The tagline brought a mix of criticism and ridicule across Twitter on Monday, but Noem cited the backlash as proof that efforts to raise awareness around South Dakota’s methamphetamine crisis was, in fact, working.
“Meth is IN SD. Twitter can make a joke of it, but when it comes down to it – Meth is a serious problem in SD. We are here to Get. It. OUT,” Noem tweeted Monday night.
Noem tweeted later that the state’s meth epidemic “needs to be a dinner table conversation,” she also added “we need everyone on it.”
The campaign includes both digital and TV ads and cost the state roughly $449,000, according to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.
One campaign video featured a series of South Dakotans — including both adults and children — declaring, “I’m on meth.” The video, along with photos of people with the tagline, prompted some Twitter users to argue that the promotional material made it look as if those featured in the campaign were on the drug themselves.
“South Dakota: if we were any higher we’d be North Dakota,” one user quipped.
Another wondered why the state bothered to trademark the tagline in the first place. Robert Maquire tweeted: “I love that they trademarked it. Don’t worry, South Dakota, no one’s going to take your slogan.”
The latest initiative comes as the state struggles to address its growing rate of methamphetamine use in recent years, particularly among its youth.
In 2016, the South Dakota’s Department of Social Services reported that the number of young people in the state who have reported using meth was 3.8 percent compared to the national average of 3 percent.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has also estimated that 964,000 people aged 12 years and older, which account for about 0.4 percent of the total U.S. population, reported a methamphetamine use disorder in 2017, marking a significant increase from the previous year.