About Unmasked: The Stigma of Meth

Ball State University Professors Terry Heifetz, an instructor of Telecommunications and News Director for Indiana Public Radio and Juli Metzger, instructor of Journalism and Coordinator of Unified Media in the College of Communication, Information and Media, led a class of 27 students in a unique multi-platform, cross-disciplinary, semester-long immersion project in the fall of 2016.

"Unmasked: The stigma of meth" examines the epidemic-sized meth problem in Delaware County and why everyone -- from lawmakers to homeowners -- should care. There were 148 seized meth labs in Delaware County in 2014. That number climbed by almost 40 percent to 235 labs seized in 2015.

Two babies every week at Muncie's IU Ball Memorial Hospital are born drug addicted. There's a wait list for children who are in need of foster care because there is no one in their family not affected by drug use. But there is hope and the community is pushing for better solutions. Through law enforcement, legislative, medical, behavioral health and faith-based communities, there is progress to report.

Pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in cold medicine and used to make meth, is harder to get over the counter because of recent legislative action and pharmacists are on high alert. A unique drug diversion program in the local court system helps users overcome the addiction and get their life back. There's still more to be done.

The Ball Brothers Foundation, the underwriter for this report, wanted to raise awareness about the issue and shine a light on the work being done. Ball Brothers has funded another student-led project to rehab a meth house and awarded grants to buy protective gear for first responders.

In this project, besides this website, there is an accompanying printed edition, a radio series that will broadcast on Indiana Public Radio and a public television documentary, which will air on WIPB. Students from the Department of Journalism and the Department of Telecommunications with focuses on television production, documentary, news writing, news broadcast and graphics and web design contributed to this report.

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