Methamphetamine in Rural Idaho

What have we explored about methamphetamine use in rural Idaho?

Through an exploratory qualitative study, we examined the perspectives and experiences of teenagers and parents around meth prevention messaging formats and strategies.

Using a deductive content analytic approach for the conducted focus groups and small group interviews (three teens; two adults), we developed teen- and adult-specific codebooks, analyzed the transcripts with NVivo 12-Plus, and identified themes surrounding methamphetamine use.

What themes arose from these focus groups and interviews?

Teens and adults were all acutely aware of meth use in their communities, personally knowing people who were addicted to meth, and all understood the oral (“meth mouth”) and physical (“crank bugs”) consequences of meth use.

Three primary themes were identified:

For teens and adults, images illustrating the effects of meth were least effective if they appeared unrealistic or comical.

Teens resonated most with messages focusing on pain and vanity (bad teeth and breath), and there was consensus that showing teens images simulating changes in their appearance over time as a result of meth use in a clinical setting would be an effective prevention strategy.

Teens and adults who had exposure to meth addiction in North Idaho felt that prevention messages focused on meth are imperative, given its high prevalence and deleterious effects.

What is the future of this research?

Future work will entail developing and testing a communication-based meth prevention strategy along with tailored messaging that can be used with teens in dental settings.

We are currently seeking funding from the NIH for a pilot to for evaluating the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of a novel, motivational interviewing-informed, communication-based, meth use preventive intervention for junior- and high-school-aged teens (ages 12-17) in the context of a dental public health clinic in rural North Idaho.

Skeer, M. R., Landy, D. M., Abrahams, J. M., & Towers, J. (2021). “Dying is Not a Fear”: Teen and Parent Perspectives on Messaging to Prevent Crystal Meth Use Among Teens in Rural North Idaho. Prevention Science22(5), 579-589.