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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
UNITED STATES: Study: Meth Still Has Appeal
Gannett News Service
September 20, 2007
Tucson Citizen (09.19.07) - Thursday, September 20, 2007

A survey of US high school students found that many would try methamphetamine, according to data released Tuesday. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based nonprofit Meth Project commissioned the research, which was conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media March 16 through June 6. Surveyors interviewed 2,602 students ages 12-17 from 43 randomly chosen US high schools. The study has a 2 percent margin of error.

According to the research, one in three youths saw little to no risk in trying methamphetamine. Nearly one in four youths believe the drug "makes you feel euphoric or happy" and aids in weight loss. The same proportion thought it would be "very" or "somewhat" easy to obtain methamphetamine. One in six youths either had a friend or family member who had used the drug or been treated for meth addiction.

One in 10 youths surveyed had been offered methamphetamine. Nonetheless, three-fourths of the youths remain strongly opposed to using the drug. Fifty-five percent of those surveyed said they had never discussed meth with their parents.

"For kids, meth is death," Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of CDC, told reporters at a news conference on Capitol Hill. She said the drug is often a factor in preventable, deadly accidents such as automobile collisions involving teens.

Aiming to dissuade first-time use, the Meth Project has run a shockingly frank anti-meth campaign in Montana since 2005. Since then, the project reports use of the drug has dropped by 50 percent among state youths. The project has similar campaigns in Arizona, Illinois, and Idaho.

"Advertising works," said Gerberding. The same advertising approach that sells toothpaste "helps motivate kids not to use this drug," she said.