17 October 2022

Methamphetamine use is linked to movement edisorders such as Parkinson's disease.

A new methamphetamine campaign based off leading University of South Australia (UniSA) research has been launched today, showing how minimal use of the drug can have life-long health impacts.

Don’t Let Meth Take Hold highlights the serious and debilitating long-term effects of meth on the brain and body even it’s used a few times – just five times in total.

The campaign focuses on how someone’s movement can be impacted in the months, or even years, after their meth use has stopped – documenting long-lasting effects which similar campaigns have never done before.

This hard-hitting, evidence-based campaign will be rolled out across multiple digital platforms aiming to educate the public on the drug’s dangers and reduce use.

It draws on University of South Australia research from Associate Professor Gabrielle Todd which has found meth is linked to long-lasting changes in movement and associated parts of the brain, with a greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Concerningly, researchers also found 47 per cent of people had no idea that meth had any long-term consequences on health – despite the devastating toll it takes.

“Using methamphetamine, even just a few times, can lead to long-lasting effects on the body and it’s important to raise awareness of this in the community,” Assoc Prof Todd says.

“Parts of the brain that are responsible for movement are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of methamphetamine.

“The damage that methamphetamine causes can lead to movement problems and increases the risk of developing movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease,” Assoc Prof Todd says.

Drug and Alcohol Services SA is helping run the campaign in partnership with UniSA and The Hospital Research Foundation, which is contributing $100,000 to ensure more South Australians are aware of the drug’s consequences.

A pre-launch survey of Don’t Let Meth Take Hold has revealed it hit home more than previous messaging around immediate harm, with respondents finding the new campaign much more informative while reducing stigma for users.

The Malinauskas Government is committed to tackling illicit drug use, including meth – investing $24.2 million for more than 20 extra rehabilitation and detox beds across the state and boosting regional services to meet growing demand.

More information on the Don’t Let Meth Take Hold campaign, as well as support services available, can be found here.


Contact for interview:  Assoc Prof Gabrielle Todd E: gabrielle.todd@unisa.edu.au
Media contact: Candy Gibson M: +61434 605 142 E: candy.gibson@unisa.edu.au

Other articles you may be interested in