Montana Meth Project Wrangles With Billings Gazette

By Beacon Staff

Veteran Billings Gazette reporter Ed Kemmick wrote an extensive piece on the Montana Meth Project that was published over weekend and has already prompted backlash from the large nonprofit. His stories, which are a worth read, question many of the claims made by the organization in regard to reducing drug addiction in the state. From his report:

Critics of the Montana Meth Project generally concede that the organization has produced powerful advertising and that its message has reached virtually everyone in Montana. They also concede that attitudes have been changed, and that awareness of the dangers of meth has increased.

What they question is whether the project is meeting its fundamental goal of significantly reducing meth use.

A day after Kemmick’s story was published, the Montana Meth Project sent out a press release alleging that he had taken data out of context. From the release:

In framing the story as a “debate” about the Montana Meth Project’s success, columnist Ed Kemmick omitted a number of key facts and misrepresented others – concerns that were expressed to the editor of The Billings Gazette prior to the story’s publication.

Kemmick is, in fact, a “columnist,” but he is also one of the most respected reporters in the state. What’s more, as the reporter discloses in his report, Billings Gazette Publisher Mike Gulledge is chairman of the Montana Meth Project board.

Read Kemmick’s story here. And read the Montana Meth Project’s entire response to it here.

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