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Shadow of Meth

Methamphetamine affects more than just the person ravaged by their addiction. In the Shadow of Meth documentary, the story of the meth epidemic is told first-hand by those hardest hit:

  • The members of families torn apart  by this insidious drug
  • The criminal justice system scrambling to contain a drug supply that seems to have no end
  • The medical and counseling professionals struggling to find treatment that works
  • The addicts – recovering or not – who are living their lives one day at a time in the shadow of meth.

According to federal estimates, more than 12 million Americans have tried methamphetamine and 1.5 million are regular users. Once derided as the “poor man’s cocaine,” the highly addictive stimulant is hooking soccer moms, computer geeks, and straight A students along with hardcore drug users. Unlike heroin and cocaine users who are predominately male, women’s use of meth is equal to that of men.

In its 2005 Youth at Risk Behavior Survey, the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction found that in North Dakota, one in every 20 students has tried meth at least once. Another alarming statistic shows that between 80 and 90% of the inmates at the North Dakota women’s penitentiary are incarcerated for meth-related crimes.

In a 2005 National Association of Counties survey of 500 law enforcement agencies, forty-five states rank methamphetamine as the number one drug they battle today. Fifty-eight (58%) percent said meth was their biggest drug problem, compared with 19% for cocaine, 17% for pot and 3% for heroin.

According to a 2005 Newsweek report, “A lot of people never saw the meth epidemic coming. Unlike crack cocaine which erupted in the nation’s urban centers, meth took hold in rural areas, far from the seats of power.”

Project producer, Kim Stenehjem, Prairie Public said, “Being at the forefront of this particular issue is a sad thing for the prairie region, but we have lessons that we can share with the rest of the country.”

Shadow of Meth is being produced by a consortium of public television and radio stations in some of the states hardest hit by the meth epidemic: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Kansas.

Outreach kits are available from Prairie Public for organizations, agencies and individuals who speak on the topic.

Shadow of Meth is funded by a grant from the US Department of Justice through the Rural Crime & Justice Center at Minot State University