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New campaign against meth production kicks off Tuesday

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 31, 2009 - Gil Kerlikowske, the White House's "anti-drug czar" and director of the National Drug Control Policy, is slated to join a number of state and local politicians and law-enforcement officials at St. Louis City Hall on Tuesday to unveil a new national effort against methamphetamine production.

Missouri has long been one of the top states for production of the illegal drug, and currently ranks first in the nation for "meth lab seizures and incidents," as reported by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.

As a result, it's not surprising that Missouri is among the 16 states to be targeted with a new national anti-drug media campaign that officials say will range from TV and radio ads to print, Web, billboards and gas-pump toppers. 

With the exception of Alaska, the other targeted states are generally in the Midwest and West. The are : Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. 

The ads are to run from September through November.

Scheduled to join Kerlikowske at Tuesday morning's event are:

  • U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis;
  • St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay;
  • Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster;
  • Judge Phillip Britt, Drug Court commissioner, Missouri's 35th Judicial Circuit;
  • Col. James Keathley, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.