HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - They're shocking and graphic, but apparently effective. I'm talking about ads that discourage the use of crystal methamphetamine. The Hawaii Meth Project began running the ads two years ago, and according to a survey released Thursday, the ads are discouraging meth use among young people.
The survey is brand new and so are four new television ads that'll hit the airwaves soon. The ads can be difficult to watch, but experts say they are making a difference.
Dr. Kevin Kunz, and addiction specialist, said, "Clearly the Hawaii Meth Project has shown effectiveness that's beyond expectation. It is proven now what we've always known in preventative medicine and that's primary prevention is the way to go."
The ads that started two years ago showed how just one taste of meth can be all it takes to hook someone and ruin their life. Before they aired, the Hawaii Meth Project did a survey. It showed 44% of teens saw great risk in trying meth. Now, after two years of the ad campaign, that number has jumped to 59%. The numbers among young adults increased 16 points from 57% to 73%. According to the survey, 88% of teens say the ads made them less likely to try meth. 75% of young adults said the same thing.
Celeste Burke, who's just 17 years old, expressed, "If someone asks you to try it, don't even do it. It's not worth it. I've been incarcerated for so long and it started out with meth." Celeste Burke has spent the past nine months in the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility. She blames meth. Burke lamented, "I was violent and just a bad person to be around."
The new wave of ads take a slightly different approach. Cindy Adams, who works for the Hawaii Meth Project, explained, "The creative for the wave three campaign as we talked about a little bit earlier is to really migrate away from the user to now the impact of the addiction to the family and to friends."
The ads say things like, "I'm really close with my friends. We do everything together." Then they show a person lashing out at family and friends, or friends crying because the user went downhill fast.
While the ads are changing the perception young people have of meth, they haven't eliminated the problem.
Adams said, "This drug continues to be a significant problem for our state."
You'll also be seeing new print and online ads and come September, the Hawaii Meth Project will release eight new radio spots.