MISSOULA, Mont., July 6 /PRNewswire/ -- On Sunday, July 5, 2009, The Billings Gazette published a story focused on the Montana Meth Project. The story also ran in the Helena Independent Record and the Missoulian the same day. In framing the story as a "debate" about the Montana Meth Project's success, columnist Ed Kemmick omitted a number of key facts and misrepresented others--concerns that were expressed to the editor of The Billings Gazette prior to the story's publication.
Last week the Montana Office of Public Instruction released new data that showed a continued drop in Meth use among Montana teens. The Montana Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), conducted statewide by the Montana Office of Public Instruction and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) every two years, showed that between 2005 and 2009, teen Meth use in Montana dropped by 63%.(1) However, Mr. Kemmick included only select data out of context from the YRBS and omitted significant findings which illustrate the changes in the scope and scale of the Meth problem in Montana since the launch of the Montana Meth Project in 2005 including third-party data showing significant, positive changes in the state.
The facts are:
The assessment of usage and other behavioral trends requires a complete view of all the data available, not selective data. The Montana Meth Project reviews a broad range of trend data to provide an accurate assessment of the changes, in all areas, since the launch of the Montana Meth Project in 2005. Key usage indicators are the CDC's YRBS, Quest Diagnostics workplace drug testing data, treatment admissions rates, and Board of Crime Control Crime Lab data.
Mr. Kemmick's article extensively references David Erceg-Hurn, an Australian psychology student who has been critical of the Montana Meth Project. Mr. Erceg-Hurn has never contacted or spoken with any representatives from the Montana Meth Project or the researchers familiar with the Project, and has never sought clarification or additional information on any of the questions raised in this and other news stories. He has not responded to repeated requests to engage in dialogue about his methods and assertions by experts and the Montana Meth Project. Nor has he spoken to public officials in Montana about data released by the state's public health and criminal justice agencies. Mr. Erceg-Hurn has not done research in Montana, and has no familiarity with the methamphetamine problem this state faced prior to the launch of the Montana Meth Project.
The Montana Meth Project is grateful for the widespread support it has received from the citizens and teens of Montana for the past four years. We are proud to have worked closely with leaders in federal and state government, with law enforcement and public health officials, the business community, volunteers, and young people from across the state to address Montana's methamphetamine problem. As the data shows, by working together we have made extraordinary progress.
(1) Office of the Attorney General, The Economic Cost of Methamphetamine Use in Montana. February 2009.
(2) Montana Office of Public Instruction, 2009 Montana Youth Risk Behavior Survey. June 2009.
(3) Office of the Attorney General, The Economic Cost of Methamphetamine Use in Montana. February 2009.
(4) Montana Attorney General, Mike McGrath. Methamphetamine in Montana: A Follow-Up Report on Trends and Progress. March 2008.
(5) Montana Attorney General, Mike McGrath. Methamphetamine in Montana: A Follow-Up Report on Trends and Progress. March 2008.
(6) Office of the Attorney General, The Economic Cost of Methamphetamine Use in Montana. February 2009.
|SOURCE Montana Meth Project|
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