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Class Notes May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

Documenting Crystal-Meth Addiction
Michael Reynolds, Muir ’92


Crystal meth addiction is now a full-blown epidemic in the United States. In Nevada alone, 90 percent of the crimes are meth-related, and surveys produced by the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services show that more than 17 percent of high school juniors have used the drug. Michael Reynolds and his company Global Studio wanted to change that. Reynolds wrote and directed a documentary, called Crystal Darkness, produced by his company. It brought home the horrors of meth through the very real and personal stories of addicts including a one-time star athlete who ended up homeless in San Francisco, the daughter of a Carson City sheriff and a teenager with a perfect grade-point average.

They started the campaign in January 2007, in Reno, Calif., with a television roadblock, which is when most channels agree to simultaneously air the documentary. At the end of the documentary, Nevada’s 211 number flashed on the screen and almost immediately operators were inundated with calls asking for more information, social services assistance or referrals to treatment programs.

A Spanish version has also been aired and the second campaign was launched in Las Vegas in late May. Both campaigns were among the most watched programs of all time for each area and campaigns in Portland, Oregon, and San Diego followed in the fall.

Reynolds’ 10-year-old, full-service advertising agency is no stranger to the non-profit sector. They have worked with the Special Olympics, the Salvation Army, Christ@Work, the Boys & Girls Club and the YMCA. Global Studios handles everything for these campaigns, from web development to documentaries to television, radio and print advertising. However, the company had a rocky beginning. Reynolds was about to launch it when his friend and partner bailed. Unfortunately the friend was to be the company’s technical expert.

“ I opened for business at 8 a.m. and had my first website sold by 10 a.m.,” Reynolds says. “Then I had to come home and read a ‘How to Build Websites’ book.” A year later they had started to expand and by their fifth year of business, annual sales eclipsed $1 million. Not a bad start, and that ’s not counting the satisfaction of working for good causes.

— Neda Oreizy, ’08

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“ I opened for business at 8 a.m. and had my first website sold by 10 a.m.,” Reynolds says.