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Meth Project Named Third Most Effective Philanthropy In the World by Barron's Magazine

Barron's Magazine

December 6th 2010

Meth Project Founder Thomas M. Siebel Recognized on Annual List of “25 Best Givers” and Commended for Significantly Reducing Meth Use

Palo Alto, Calif.—December 6, 2010—The Meth Project has been named the third most effective philanthropy in the world by Barron’s magazine, one of the country’s premier business and financial publications.  The announcement was made in the magazine’s cover story this week, “The 25 Best Givers.”  This is the second year in a row the Meth Project has been named to the Barron’s list; it was ranked number five in 2009.
In awarding the Meth Project its number three spot, Barron’s said, “The Meth Project is spreading—and teenage use of methamphetamine is falling as a result … [The] massive campaign of provocative antimeth ads, first rolled out in Montana, moved into Georgia this year and was stepped up in Colorado and Hawaii … In Montana, teenage meth use has fallen below the national average for the first time since 1991.”
Barron’s developed its list of the most effective philanthropies in collaboration with the Global Philanthropy Group.  Their rankings represent individuals and organizations that have developed innovative solutions to address the toughest global challenges.  The philanthropies that were selected for the top 25 list produced measurable results and demonstrated scalability and influence that created strong “ripple effects” that further expanded the organization’s impact.
“It is an honor to be recognized for the effectiveness of the Meth Project,” said Nitsa Zuppas, Executive Director of the Siebel Foundation, which founded the Meth Project.  “According to the RAND Corporation, methamphetamine abuse costs the nation $23.4 billion per year and it is considered the leading drug-related crime problem in America.  The approach of developing a large-scale, research-based prevention program aimed at significantly reducing Meth abuse—as a model that could be replicated—has paid off as data show measurable decreases in usage in states across the nation.”
The Meth Project launched in Montana in 2005.  At the time the state ranked number five in the nation for methamphetamine use.  It has since dropped to number 39.  Teen Meth use in the state is down by 63%, Meth-related crime declined 62%, and annual costs to the state as a result of methamphetamine use have decreased by $100 million since the Project’s inception.  Over the past five years, the Meth Project has expanded to eight states: Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Montana, and Wyoming, which have reported similar results.  In the two years following the launch of the Idaho Meth Project, the state saw a 52% decrease in teen Meth use, the largest decline in the nation, and Arizona’s rate of teen usage has dropped 49%.
Although significant progress has been made in combating methamphetamine abuse, law enforcement officials have become concerned as the supply of Meth in the United States is now on the rise.  According to the U.S. Department of Justice, methamphetamine is at its highest availability, highest purity, and lowest cost in five years, largely as a result of the Mexican drug cartels’ increased involvement in the Meth trade.

“The methamphetamine trade is a multi-billion dollar business, and as long as there is demand for the drug there will be traffickers willing to meet that demand,” Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said. “We brought the Meth Project to Colorado because of its proven effectiveness in reducing demand for this highly destructive drug. Since its launch we have already seen widespread progress. Our campaigns have dramatically changed attitudes as Colorado’s youth have learned more about the risks involved with methamphetamine use. Ninety-four percent of teens now see risk in trying meth just once and 89 percent report the Colorado Meth Project’s ads made them less likely to try or use the drug.”

Central to the Meth Project’s prevention program is a research-based public education campaign that graphically communicates the risks of Meth, supported by community outreach and public policy initiatives.  The statewide campaigns focus on educating teens early and often, reaching young people at least three times per week with hard-hitting TV, radio, print, billboard, and online advertising.  The Meth Project’s TV campaigns have been created by award-winning directors, including Darren Aronofsky, Wally Pfister, and Alejandro González Iñárritu, and have won more than 45 advertising industry awards. In 2006, the White House cited the program as one of the country's most powerful and creative prevention programs, and a model for the nation.
In addition to its public service messaging, the Meth Project raises awareness through comprehensive community action programs that have been a catalyst for teen involvement.  Idaho and Montana held statewide “Paint the State” contests, in which thousands of teens and community groups blanketed the states with more than 1,200 pieces of anti Meth public artwork. Last year, more than 2,300 teens marched to the Montana state capitol, leading the call for continued funding for the Montana Meth Project.  It was the largest teen demonstration in Montana’s history, and culminated in the delivery of petitions signed by more than 55,000 Montana residents requesting financial support for the Project from the State Legislature. 

For more information about the Meth Project, please visit

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