Letter: What classifies as an epidemic?
To the Editor:
In November South Dakota launched the “Meth, We’re On It” campaign.
Gov. Noem said, “What it’s talking about is that each one of us, no matter who we are, that we’re on the case of meth. That we’re protecting our family, we’re protecting our friends, we’re protecting our communities from this epidemic that we see.”
Thirteen people in the state died from meth overdoses in 2018. There were 73 overdose deaths overall in S.D. in 2017, according to the CDC. Drug deaths were not in the 10 leading causes of death that year.
In 2018, the state with the lowest age-adjusted drug overdose death rates was South Dakota .
In 2016, the most recent year the Department of Social Services has data, there were 3,687 arrests for meth possession in the state.
On Aug. 29, the latest COVID numbers were released, a terrible day for SD: 167 COVID deaths, 2,428 active cases and 12,942 total cases. All-time highs.
Why was so much time, effort and money put into this meth campaign compared to the very hands off approach by the same governor when it comes to COVID? Thirteen people in the state died from meth overdoses in 2018. 167 people have died in S.D. in the last five months from COVID.
Where is the leadership in this state? Why was meth deemed a serious problem, but COVID isn’t? At current pace, COVID would be the seventh leading cause of death in the state.
I would love if government would say, “Each of us, no matter who we are, we’re on the case of COVID. That we’re protecting our family, we’re protecting our friends, we’re protecting our communities from this epidemic that we see.”
Instead, she pushed for schools to stay open this fall, but is against any requirements for children to wear masks in classrooms.
Why were 13 meth related deaths in 2018 and 2,687 arrests for meth possession in 2016 deemed an “epidemic,” but 167 COVID cases, 2,428 active cases and 12,742 total cases in five months deemed “minimal” by the same person?