$730,000 In Grants Awarded For SD Anti-Meth Middle School Programs

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – South Dakota is allocating $730,000 to 9 organizations to provide evidence-based methamphetamine prevention programming in nearly 40 middle schools across the state.

It complements the $450,000 anti-meth campaign, “Meth. We’re On It,” which drew widespread ridicule when it launched last month.

Governor Kristi Noem says children are the future of the state, and that it’s crucial they be taught the dangers of substance abuse. She says programs like these can have a tremendous impact on students and their hometowns – adding that It’s time meth is eradicated from the state.

State Social Services Secretary Laurie Gill says protecting at-risk youth starts with education and awareness, which the middle school effort will focus on by reducing risk factors and increasing protective factors.

Each program is expected to draw attention to distinct issues and outcomes while emphasizing such things as recognizing and challenging common misconceptions about substance use, practicing resistance skills, and learning personal self-management and social skills

Not everyone is impressed with the plan. State Representative Kevin Jensen, vice chair of the state’s “Fighting Methamphetamine Addiction” committee, says the state needs to make sure the difference between prevention and awareness is clear.

Jensen says prevention isn’t a one-time shot, it needs to be continued and reinforced at all ages, especially in high school where the challenges of peer pressure are much higher.

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