PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) is addressing the controversial “Meth. We’re on It.” campaign head-on.
In her first local, on-camera interview, the first-term governor said South Dakota is honest and doesn’t overlook challenges.
In the first week since the campaign launched, more than 50 people have reached out for help and nine have been referred to treatment, according to the state.
“For those nine people, for their families, if this campaign got them to take action then I’d say it was life-changing,” Noem said.
In our interview at the governor’s residence in Pierre, Noem said she knew the campaign would get people talking.
“I think everybody in the state and beyond would say they’ve talked about meth more than the last five years combined,” Noem said.
She believes many of the people who are criticizing the campaign haven’t actually watched the video, which features scenes from across the Mount Rushmore state featuring a farmer, a woman in church, a child and a high school football player all saying, “I’m on Meth.”
“A lot of people that were making jokes, I would ask them, ‘Did you even watch the commercial?’ Because the commercial is pretty powerful and obviously shows that these people aren’t on meth, so it should have made you question why are they saying this,” Noem said.
The nearly $1.4 million campaign captured widespread attention, from national news to late-night comedy shows.
“I think that a lot of the conversations that I’ve had, people are recognizing after the first few days of people making jokes of it, they’ve dug into it and even on the national level, they’re covering meth now,” Noem said.
The state has set up several resources as part of the “On Meth” campaign. If you need help or know someone who does, call 1-800-920-4343 for immediate assistance or text “ONMETH” to 898211. The campaign also has a list of resources including county-by-county treatment and recovery groups at OnMeth.com.
You can watch Noem’s complete interview with KELOLAND News in the player above.