Missoula Story of the Week: National Meth Awareness Day


In 2005, an epidemic had a strangle-hold over Montana.

This epidemic touched nearly everyone. Whether rich, poor, young or old, it seemed as if no demographic was immune from the dark hand of meth.

The stories are heartbreaking and seem as if they are pulled out of the pages of a horror book. However, this is no book, and the stories are all too real. The relative ease in which the drug is produced and the explosive addictive nature of it, produced a devastating wildfire that spread to every corner of the Big Sky Country. The problem seemed unstoppable.

Five years later, the rate of meth use in Montana had seen an almost unbelievable decline, down 63 percent among teenagers in the state, according to a 2010 Barron’s magazine article.

The story praises the Montana Meth Project as the leading cause for such remarkable progress, awarding the organization the third highest spot in “The 25 Best Givers” list the magazine compiled that year. The fight against meth addiction had begun to make real progress.

The Montana Meth Project was founded by Thomas M. Siebel in 2005. The program, which was started in Montana, was developed in response to growing meth crisis in the state.

The foundation began its focus on revealing the dark and horrific consequences of meth use. Radio and television ads blanketed the state with real stories from addicts retold in a macabre style.

The Montana Meth Project logo

Users of the drug talked about their meth behavior, which often involved prostitution, rape, stealing, and a host of violent crimes precipitated by the drug. The campaign took on a no-holds-barred attitude toward meth and became known for its slogan, “Meth, not even once.”

November 30 is National Meth Awareness Day, a day created to raise awareness about the devastating nature of meth. With organizations like Montana Meth Project the reduction in meth use has gone from mere hope, to a statistical reality.

Montana, which was once ranked fifth in reported meth use, dropped to 39th five years after the Montana Meth Project began, as stated in the Barron’s article.

While meth’s hold on Montana has loosened, it is important to state that the drug is still a significant problem.

Mexican drug cartels have filled the void left by decreased domestic production of the drug and are now responsible for nearly 80% of the supply in the United States, according to a recent US Today story. To make matters worse, the meth being brought in from Mexico is 90% pure making it more deadly and addictive than its homemade counterpart.

Awareness of the devastating effects of meth is perhaps the most influential deterrent of its use. Statistics show that the drug’s abuse can be combated and National Meth Awareness Day is a great way to stop its spread.


Each week, Tom Diddel recaps the week’s most talked-about story in Missoula. Visit the Make it Missoula News & Opinion section for more talk of the town.


Tom Diddel has lived in Missoula on and off for nearly thirty-eight years. He enjoys skiing, hiking, and many other outdoor activities. He holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Montana and is currently working as a Freelance Writer and a Para-Educator.