Things That Matter

South Dakota Won’t Change Their ‘Meth, We’re On It’ Anti-Drug Campaign

South Dakota revealed its new anti-drug campaign, complete with a new slogan that rolls right off the tongue: “Meth, we’re on it.” The phrase is supposed to be clever, at least that’s what Governor Kristi Noem probably hoped. “We’re on it,” is meant to suggest the state is on curbing the use of the drug, but instead the advertisements which feature the slogan with zero context, and tell the viewer to visit www.OnMeth.com, might give the wrong impression. 

The tagline was inevitably roasted and criticized on Twitter. Noem doubled-down on the campaign suggesting that the backlash was evidence it worked because people were talking about it or as some would say, “haters is how you know you’re shining,” — truly a governing principle of our politics these days. 

North Dakota unleashed the ironic anti-drug campaign and Twitter snapped.

The campaign cost $449,000 of taxpayer money, some of which was paid to Broadhead Co. the ad agency that came up with the tagline, according to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. The intention is to bring attention to the state’s meth epidemic using television ads, billboards, and posters, along with the website. The photo ads feature all kinds of people, including children, saying, “I’m on meth.” The same phrase is repeated in a television ad as well. It is hard not to laugh no matter how serious the issue is.  

 “[The campaign will create] a movement for all South Dakotans to take an active role in keeping their state a great place to live,” according to the proposal by Broadhead.

As soon as the campaign launched plenty of people on Twitter started having fun with it.

Some Twitter users created some “new” anti-drug campaigns for South Dakota with ironic phrases like, “Heroin. We’re up in arms,” and “MDMA. We feel you.” 

Other users “blamed the intern.”

Others roasted the fact that South Dakota even trademarked the phrase.

Regardless of how funny, Noem stands by the campaign and considers all the jokes a part of its success story. 

Governor Noem defends “Meth. We’re on it.”

“Meth is IN SD. Twitter can make a joke of it, but when it comes down to it – Meth is a serious problem in SD. We are here to Get. It. OUT,” Noem tweeted. 

South Dakota has struggled to address the growing meth epidemic in the state where 12 to 17-year-olds use meth at rates higher than the national average. Noem requested over $1 million in funding to expand meth treatment services and $730,000 for school-based preventions. 

“South Dakota’s anti-meth campaign launch is sparking conversations around the state and the country,” Noem told the Washington Post. “The mission of the campaign is to raise awareness — to get people talking about how they can be part of the solution and not just the problem. It is working.”

In the state, meth use isn’t just a public health issue it is also a criminal justice matter that has seen many South Dakotans imprisoned. Some state officials are notably enthusiastic about it. 

“The campaign is inclusive and empowering and establishes a movement for all South Dakotans to take an active role in keeping our state a great place to live,” Laurie Gill, head of the state’s Department of Social Services, said in a statement. “We’re encouraging everyone to work together to eliminate meth.”

However, there are some serious detractors of the campaign efficacy. 

Assistant Dean at the University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of business was critical of the slogan.

“I can’t imagine this is what they intended to do; any good marketer would look at this and say: ‘Yeah, let’s not do that,’” Pearce told the Washington Post. “I’m sure South Dakota residents don’t like being laughed at. That’s what’s happening right now.”

Pearce was skeptical of the campaign’s ability to reach the intended person, even if it does go viral on the internet. 

“This is not about trying to find people in the tough parts of town that are hiding from society and using meth,” he said. “This is about telling everyone in the state: ‘I know we’ve got a problem, and I’m addressing it.’ Nobody thought about the ramifications. The Twitter reactions are hysterical.”

Associate Professor for advertising at Syracuse University Beth Egan voiced similar reservations recognizing that regardless of the ad’s intention people are going to dictate how its interpreted. 

“One of the things that struck me is, obviously everyone gets the play on words, they’re trying a twist. But what they’re missing is that advertisers no longer have control over the conversation. You need to be mindful of how consumers are gonna take it and run with it in their own way, Egan said.  

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US Prosecutors Allege That Honduran President Hernández Said He Wanted to ‘Shove Drugs Up the Noses of Gringos’

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US Prosecutors Allege That Honduran President Hernández Said He Wanted to ‘Shove Drugs Up the Noses of Gringos’

Photo via Getty

They say the truth is stranger than fiction, and in this case, that saying happens to be true. New reports from federal prosecutors in New York have come out that implicate Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández in drug trafficking, embezzlement, and fraud.

For years, Honduras and the United States have publicly touted themselves as partners in global the war on drugs. But it seems that, privately, President Hernández felt differently.

Prosecutors allege that Hernández said that he wanted to “shove the drugs right up the noses of the gringos”.

Federal prosecutors say that Hernández “said that he wanted to make the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration think that Honduras was fighting drug trafficking, but that instead he was going to eliminate extradition.”

The allegations against President Hernández are part of a larger drug trafficking case prosecutors have against, Geovanny Fuentes, a prolific Honduran trafficker whom authorities arrested in Miami.

Fuentes alleges that President Hernandez accepted bribes in exchange for protecting a cocaine laboratory and drug shipments headed towards the U.S. They say President Juan Orlando Hernández used his nation’s armed forces to protect huge shipments of cocaine in exchange for hefty bribes.

The case also alleges that Hernandez funneled aid money from the U.S. to non-governmental organizations.

The Honduran president isn’t explicitly named in the documents, but is instead referred to as “co-conspirator 4”. But the documents reference his political position as well as his relationship to his brother, Juan Antonio Hernández, who was also convicted of drug smuggling in 2019.

It’s worth mentioning that the 2019 case against Hernández’s brother also named President Hernández as a co-conspirator. That case alleged that President Hernández had accepted approximately $1 million in bribes from El Chapo.

President Hernández is denying the allegations and claiming that they are retaliations by cartel lords for his hardline stance against drug trafficking.

Recently, his office tweeted out: “The claim that Pres. Hernández supposedly accepted drug money from Geovanny Daniel Fuentes Ramirez, or gave protection or coordination to drug traffickers is 100% false, and appears to be based on lies of confessed criminals who seek revenge and to reduce their sentences.”

But at home, Hondurans seemed to have lost faith in their president. In fact, many are suspicious of his shady connections and seemingly never-ending scandals. Some Hondurans are reportedly worried that President Hernández may try to “illegally extend” his time in office in order to avoid prosecution by the United States”.

As of now, the prospects of him being prosecuted by the Trump administration are dubious at best.

Hernández and Trump have historically had a cozy relationship based on how fervently the Honduran president supported Trump’s strict immigration policies.

“[Indictment] will probably depend on the political will or political decision of the incoming Biden administration,” said InSight Crime senior investigator Hector Silva to Vice.

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In Peru, Santa And His Elves Are Helping Bust Drug Dealers And Are Going Viral In The Process

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In Peru, Santa And His Elves Are Helping Bust Drug Dealers And Are Going Viral In The Process

AmericasTV / YouTube

Around this time of year, you can imagine just how busy Santa Claus and his team of elves are. I mean, they’re preparing for a one-night trip around the world to deliver gifts to each of the planet’s 2.2 billion kids. How they do it is beyond me…

Well, now it appears that Santa and his elves even had some extra time to help bust drug cartels in Peru!

Cops are dressing up as Christmas favorites to help bust drug dealers.

With the Christmas holiday rapidly approaching, some of Peru’s cops have donned a new but familiar disguise: Papa Noel, or Santa Claus. The cops disguised as Santa Claus and his elf were not exactly spreading cheer on a sleigh when they jumped out of an undercover van and broke down the door of a man who made the naughty list.

In a police video released online, an officer dressed as Santa Claus can be seen smashing through a door with a sledgehammer, conducting a search of a home, and leading drug suspects out in handcuffs.

“We are the police! We are the green squad! This is an anti-drug operation!” one of the agents was captured on video yelling at the suspect in the Villa El Salvador district of Lima.

“We are able to imitate any type of character,” Peru National Police Col. Jorge Angulo told America TV. “This is a special character. We have had the opportunity to raid a home for the issue of drug sales.”

During that raid, Peruvian police arrested four suspects and seized 4,564 packets of cocaine hidden in three houses. “The detainees were left with speechless upon seeing Santa Claus,” news site Metro Peru reported.

The best gift we can give is a little security to the people,” Angulo said.

The police force involved often dresses up in disguise to help bust criminals.

A special division of Lima’s police force has been known to dress as street sweepers, vendors, or as homeless people in order to patrol its territory and detect criminal activity.

Crime, particularly drug-related crime, is an issue of special concern in Lima and in Peru more broadly. Assaults and shootings have taken place in restaurants, and there have been killings of merchants and workers in broad daylight, all of which has contributed to a sense of insecurity, according to La Prensa.

Lima and the port city of Callao, which is just west of the Peruvian capital, have seen high levels of drug-related crime, as gangs compete for influence of the trafficking in the country that has become the second-largest producer of cocaine, behind Colombia, as well as a hub for counterfeiting and forgery.

Though not everyone supports the raids since police in the country have been accused of illegal activity.

Just as has been the case in the U.S. and Mexico, police in Peru are coming under increased scrutiny for alleged illegal activity. There have been numerous reports that members of the police forces have formed “death squads” and that successful operations have been staged to intimidate and harass citizens.

High levels of official complicity and of corruption within the government and law enforcement have long shielded police members involved in criminal activity, and the prevalence of such complicity seems likely to undercut some recent laws aimed at combating organized crime and official impunity.

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