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17th October 2022

Meth campaign to highlight life-long impacts of minimal use

Chris Picton and Olivia Nassaris

A new methamphetamine campaign based off leading research has been launched today, showing how minimal use of the drug can have life-long health impacts.

Don’t Let Meth Take Hold highlights the serious and debilitating long-term effects of meth on the brain and body even it’s used a few times – just five times in total.

The campaign focuses on how someone’s movement can be impacted in the months, or even years, after their meth use has stopped – documenting long-lasting effects which similar campaigns have never done before.

This hard-hitting, evidence-based campaign will be rolled out across TV, radio and social media aiming to educate the public on the drug’s dangers and reduce use amongst current users.

It draws on University of South Australia research which has found meth is linked to long-lasting changes in movement and associated parts of the brain, with a greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Concerningly, researchers also found 47 per cent of people had no idea that meth had any long-term consequences on health – despite the devastating toll it takes.

Drug and Alcohol Services SA is helping run the campaign in partnership with UniSA and The Hospital Research Foundation, which is contributing $100,000 to ensure more South Australians are aware of the drug’s consequences.

A pre-launch survey of Don’t Let Meth Take Hold has revealed it hit home more than previous messaging around immediate harm, with respondents finding the new campaign much more informative while reducing stigma for users.

The Malinauskas Government is committed to tackling illicit drug use, including meth – investing $24.2 million for more than 20 extra rehabilitation and detox beds across the state and boosting regional services to meet growing demand.

For free and confidential counselling and referrals call the Alcohol and Drug Information Service on 1300 13 1340.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Chris Picton MP said: “This campaign highlights just how dangerous methamphetamine can be – long after someone has stopped using it, even if that’s just a few times.

“Our Government is determined to reduce the devastating hold this insidious drug has on users, their families and the wider community.

“These messages will hit home and help strengthen our commitment to better rehabilitate users and support their loved ones, including opening up more drug and alcohol beds.”

DASSA State Director Marina Bowshall: “Methamphetamine use is incredibly detrimental so it’s important we continue to find ways to educate and reduce the number of South Australians who use it.

“If you are concerned about the effect of methamphetamine on your movement or health, speak to your doctor or GP clinic about your concerns.”

THRF Parkinson’s Executive Director Olivia Nassaris: “The Hospital Research Foundation (THRF) Group has invested $100,000 to ensure that South Australians see and hear the messages which highlight the potentially debilitating and long-lasting impacts of methamphetamine use on the brain.

“The team at THRF – Parkinson’s see the symptoms and the devastating impact of this movement disorder on individuals and their loved ones on a daily basis.

“Our community wants to educate people on methamphetamine’s impact so we don’t see an increase in what’s being termed ‘drug-induced Parkinson’s’ in the future.”

UniSA Clinical and Health Services Assoc Prof Gabrielle Todd: “Using methamphetamine, even just a few times, can lead to long-lasting effects on the body and it’s important to raise awareness of this in the community.

“Parts of the brain that are responsible for movement are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of methamphetamine.

“The damage that methamphetamine causes can lead to movement problems and increases the risk of developing movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.”