SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - It's a disturbing statistic, meth and heroin use are on the rise in South Dakota.
In just the past year alone, methamphetamine arrests rose from about 1,500 to 2,100.
And while arrests for heroin are slowly starting to increase in South Dakota, the number of people seeking treatment for the drug are some of the highest the state has seen in more than four decades.
Recovery counselors say treating addiction isn't easy, but South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley is hoping to launch an awareness campaign focused on kids, in the hopes breaking the cycle of addiction before it starts.
Addiction destroys many lives. Brent Lambley, a Keystone addiction counselor and recovering meth addict says by the time he got to treatment when he was 30, his life was up in smoke.
“When I got clean my four daughters were in three different foster homes, the kids were all spilt up, mom went to prison, I went to treatment,” he remembered.
Meth and heroin are a problem in the mid-west. Phyllis Bauerle, Keystone’s clinical director of outpatient treatment says heroin use is increasing at an alarming rate.
“In the last 43 years we have been open we have the highest admission right now of opiate and heroin addicts that we've seen in those 43 years,” she explained.
Attorney General Marty Jackley is working to combat the growing problem in the state.
One way he is trying to do this is by launching an awareness campaign for students.
“That pulls in educators as well as parents to help spread the word of what both methamphetamine and heroin does, both mentally and physically and the dangers of even trying it,” Jackley said.
Meth and heroin are dangerous. Heroin is known to kill.
“Even over in Canton, South Dakota we had an overdose death not that long ago,” Lambley said.
“The death toll of what we're seeing in the United States and that is one of the reasons why this is becoming a priority,” Bauerle added.
And Lambley says meth can have long lasting effects on a person's brain.
“It takes about 5 years before a meth addicts brain starts to function somewhat normally,” he explained.
He says if spreading awareness to young people could help prevent just one person from slipping into the grip of addiction, the campaign will be worth it.
In addition to launching an ad campaign, Jackley is also narrowing his focus on strengthening state drug courts and addressing the distribution and manufacturing of drugs.
In 2014 the Sioux Falls police arrested one person for using heroin. The next year they arrested eight and already in 2016, six people have been arrested for using the drug.