'It never went away': Officials launch 'Know Meth' campaign to curb use

Meth use across the Upper Midwest is predicted to skyrocket over the next decade.

While the country is gripped by the opioid crisis, meth addiction in Wisconsin alone has grown by more than 400 percent in recent years.

Some are calling it a crisis.

It’s called the Know Meth campaign, which is a statewide effort to help those that are addicted and to keep others from becoming addicts.

The campaign is more than a commercial or website. Know Meth is a statewide warning of the alarming meth use in Wisconsin and provides prevention resources and ways to get help.

“It never went away,” said Sarah Turner, a public health specialist. “It’s reared its ugly head again and we just can’t seem to get ahead of it.”

Know Meth warns of a 462 percent statewide increase in meth use between 2010 and 2017 and warns that number is anticipated to continue to grow.

Turner, who works for Barron County, is on the front lines of the battle.

“So much of the attention is going to the opioid side of things and our communities aren’t feeling that,” she said.

“It is the drug of choice if not in all of Wisconsin and Minnesota, it will be shortly,” said Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald. “It continues to be the drug of choice. It’s less expensive and doesn’t kill you as fast.”

Fitzgerald showed FOX 9 how everyday items are now used in drug deals. He says the crackdowns in obtaining ingredients to make meth locally have worked, but the addictive drug is now coming in from Mexico via Minneapolis that is stronger and more pure.

That’s why the Sheriff and others are asking everyone to Know Meth. He wants everyone to say no to meth and its devastating effects.

“Children in foster care, 80 percent of those out of home placements of kids sent to way is directly related to methamphetamine,” said Turner.

“Know Meth is a way to talk about it, learn about it, talk to our kids more about it and do something about a problem that is plaguing our area,” said Fitzgerald.

For more information about Know Meth, visit their website