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South Dakota:
Under God, the People Rule

Battling the Meth Epidemic

One of my priorities is to aggressively battle the meth epidemic to create a stronger South Dakota for the next generation.

Meth is filling our jails and prisons, clogging our court systems, tearing apart our families and stretching our drug treatment capacity.

Meth destroys people, but it does much more. It destroys families. It hurts our kids, and we see that in our schools, in our foster families, and in our health care providers. This breaks my heart. Not because I'm the governor. Because I';m a mom.

In the coming months and years, we'll work toward expanding prevention and treatment programs. We need to do more to educate our young people about the effects of meth and give them strategies to avoid it. We'll also help every South Dakotan learn to identify the early signs of meth use to increase early referrals to treatment. I want to reach meth users before they enter the criminal justice system and commit other crimes. Our objective isn't to imprison people - that hurts families too. We need additional mental health services. We must help people beat their meth addiction and return to their jobs and families.

Furthermore, we're going to get more aggressive in enforcing our laws against meth. We need to stop the traffic of meth into our state and crack down on those who deal drugs.

And while we crack down on enforcement, we must pave avenues for rehabilitation. Programs like Teen Challenge in Brookings as well as the six Intensive Methamphetamine Treatment programs across the state help people struggling with life-controlling substance abuse, and equips them to become productive members of their community. We need more options for people trapped in addiction, recognizing that second chances are available to people willing to walk the road to recovery. We need to encourage our loved ones to reach out for help and to fight the stigma around substance use disorder. If you or your loved one needs assistance, please call 1-800-920-4343 or visit https://dss.sd.gov/behavioralhealth/community/.

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