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Drug Czar Kicks Off National Ad Campaign in Springfield

The Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy was in Springfield today (November 14) to launch a new nationwide ad campaign. He came to Missouri to kick-off the campaign because the state leads the nation in the number of meth lab busts for 2004 Missouri has more than double the number of labs than the second-leading state. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

The television spots will air in Springfield and 23 other cities.

One of the ads begins with a shot of a woman cooking meth in her apartment She s surrounded by smoke. The narrator talks about Jamie

By the end, you see that Jamie isn t the woman cooking meth it s the little girl who lives upstairs, who is unknowingly breathing the toxic fumes from the meth lab.

This and the other ads highlight the impact methamphetamine has on non-users and the community at large.

During a press conference in Greene County s drug court, Drug Czar John Walters told reporters these ads are designed to show that drugs impact everyone.

Walters says this is an important message to convey since non-users sometimes are indifferent.

The ads are aimed at non-users and people who are just beginning to experiment with meth.

A recovered meth addict, Sherry Lechner spoke at the press conference.

She says the ads are good for non-users but meth addicts probably won t see them.

The ads begin airing at a time when Congress is debating anti-meth legislation.

U-S Senator Jim Talent is sponsoring the bill.

At the press conference, he said he s cautiously optimistic the bill will pass.

The federal government s attempts to curb drug use, whether through legislation or public awareness campaigns has drawn criticism.

Greg Tlapek is the executive director of the Missouri Libertarian Party.

He says people will continue to use illicit drugs, no matter how many television spots air around the country.

But the U-S Drug Czar John Walters says the fight against substance abuse is a worthy one.

He says it s a crime and there are victims.

Information on the new anti-meth ads that are now airing in Springfield is available online at drug free dot org slash meth.