Montana Meth Project
The Montana Meth Project is a Montana-based anti-drug organization founded by billionaire Thomas Siebel. The main focus of the project is an advertising campaign, based on ads that are intended to horrify viewers concerning the possible dangers of methamphetamine. The advertisements are based on a theme of regret, occasionally with not-yet-addicted teens viewing their future selves warning them about the consequences of what they are pondering. Common elements are amphetamine psychosis and the decline of one's health and living conditions. As of 2007, the ads have been picked up in other states, such as Arizona and Idaho, as well.
All 12 television spots were conceived by San Francisco-based advertising agency Venables Bell & Partners. The 2005 and 2006 spots were directed by Tony Kaye, while the 2007 spots were directed by Darren Aronofsky.
In the following synopses, the abridgement "meth" is used in place of the word methamphetamine.
2005-2006: Directed by Tony Kaye
- Bathtub - A teen girl takes a shower while waiting for her friend to come over, presumably so they can try meth for the first time. During her shower, she turns around and screams when she sees a pockmarked, bleeding version of herself shivering at the bottom of the shower, who pleads, "don't do it."
- Laundromat - A deranged, addicted young man runs into a laundromat and demands the money of everyone inside, beating a man to the floor and screaming in the faces of women and children. He then runs to his pre-addicted self, grabs him by the collar, and shouts "this wasn't supposed to be your life!"
- Just Once - A teen girl declares that she is only trying meth once, leading to a sequence of further compromises to support her addiction, each of which she promises will be "just once." The ad ends with her pre-teen sister stealing her drugs and whispering "I'm going to try meth, just once."
- That Guy - A teen boy states "I'm going to try meth just once, I'm not gonna be like that guy." He gestures towards a later version of himself, who deteriorates further, finally ending up shaking and sweating on a dealer's couch. A teen girl purchases meth from the dealer, saying "I'm gonna try meth just once, I'm not gonna be like that guy," indicating the now-wretched boy.
- Junkie Den - In a shadowy drug den, a young boy tries meth for the first time. He is congratulated by dirty, drug-addicted people, who describe his future life as "one of us". One woman says that they will "shoot up together", two addicted men say that they and the boy will "steal together... and we'll be sleepin' together, too." The boy's protest that he is only trying meth once is met with howls of laughter.
- Crash - A car is driving in the rain at night. The tire blows out, and the car flips over. In narration, the teenage driver wishes that she had crashed on her way to "that party", even if she were to have broken her neck and become paralyzed, because it would have prevented her from trying meth. The girl, now addicted, smokes meth in a dirty, run-down apartment, in which she says "now this is my life."
- Everything Else - A girl approaches a group of people who are using meth, and requests some for herself. The dealer gives her the meth, as well as "everything else" that comes with it. He aggressively saddles her with an intimidating drug dealer, "meth boyfriends" who rape her and give her meth, an addicted baby, and in a mirror, he shows her her bleeding "meth face."
- Jumped - A younger teen boy is chased through a parking lot by three older males, who beat him to the ground and kick him. In narration, the boy wishes he had been assaulted that night, because then he would not have tried meth. The worst of the three raises a cinder block high over his head, threatening to drop it on the boy and crush his skull. The camera cuts to a drug den, where the boy, shaking, says "now all I do is meth."
2007: Directed by Darren Aronofsky
- Boyfriend - A teen girl is shown laying on a bed in her underwear as an older man zips up his pants and walks out the door of the motel room in which she lays. In narration, she states, "I love my boyfriend, we've been together since like 8th grade. He takes care of me." As the older man exits, he hands something to the boyfriend, who stands outside of the door. The boyfriend enters the room and shows her the meth, as she cringes and weeps.
- Mother - A teenage boy raids his mother's purse for money, while in narration, he talks about how much he loves her. When she enters the room and objects to his theft, both dismayed and concerned for her son, he strikes her to the floor. She cries out to him, hanging onto his leg. He kicks free and flees, as she lays sobbing on the floor.
- Friends - From the interior of a car, we see one worried passenger, the reckless driver, and a second worried passenger. A female narrator says that she is "tight with her friends", who "always look out for me". The narrator is revealed as the third passenger, slumped in the backseat, as the car pulls up to a hospital emergency room. Her 'friends' pull her unresponsive body out of the car, dump her next to the curb, and speed off.
- Parents - An upset teenage boy approaches his parents' house, knocking on the door, and shouting "I'm sorry, Dad!" In a narration, the boy talks about how he's always been really close with his parents. Inside the house, the parents are panicked and distraught, and turn off the light. The boy kicks the door many times, begging to be let in, screaming that he's going to kill them.
Though many in the state legislature hail the project as an unprecedented success--even going so far as to fund the previously privately-funded project with tax dollars--some of Montana's residents believe that the project is likely to make little impact in the long-term. Some call the project "scare tactics" and decry its lack of credible scientific evidence to back up the ads. However, some surveys have shown that the project is effective, though those surveys have been called into question as they were produced by the project itself, and some view them as simply part of a continuing trend of decline in usage.