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Lawmakers advance competing strategies to ‘get on’ meth

PIERRE, S.D. — As Gov. Kristi Noem tells South Dakotans she wants them tackle increasing rates of meth addiction and meth-related arrests, lawmakers this year are looking to do their part.

They just can’t agree on the best approach.

The Republican-dominated Legislature has two weeks to pass its budget and bills, but a split remains on what should be prioritized: addiction treatment and helping people avoid incarceration or a tough-on-crime approach that gives law enforcement more leeway to threaten drug users with prison time.

Gov. Kristi Noem supports an emphasis on prevention, while the attorney general wants to scale back a controversial program that automatically grants probation to people with low-level drug felonies.

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