This Is 'Your Face On Meth,' Kids

A teen's face before meth use. Courtesy Laslo Vespremi i i

This is a teen photographed for the Face2Face project. Courtesy Laslo Vespremi hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy Laslo Vespremi
A teen's face before meth use. Courtesy Laslo Vespremi

This is a teen photographed for the Face2Face project.

Courtesy Laslo Vespremi
A teen's face simulated at six months of meth use. Courtesy Laslo Vespremi i i

This is how the computer projects he'd look after six months of meth use … Courtesy Laslo Vespremi hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy Laslo Vespremi
A teen's face simulated at six months of meth use. Courtesy Laslo Vespremi

This is how the computer projects he'd look after six months of meth use …

Courtesy Laslo Vespremi
A teen's face simulated at one year of meth use. Courtesy Laslo Vespremi i i

… after a year of meth use… Courtesy Laslo Vespremi hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy Laslo Vespremi
A teen's face simulated at one year of meth use. Courtesy Laslo Vespremi

… after a year of meth use…

Courtesy Laslo Vespremi
A teen's face simulated at three years of meth use. Courtesy Laslo Vespremi i i

… after three years of meth use. Courtesy Laslo Vespremi hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy Laslo Vespremi
A teen's face simulated at three years of meth use. Courtesy Laslo Vespremi

… after three years of meth use.

Courtesy Laslo Vespremi

Sheriff Tom Allman says he has found a way to keep kids off methamphetamine. If they could see what they'd look like after using the highly addictive drug, it might get them to stay away from it forever. With help from some image-altering software, Allman is out to show teens the face of meth.

"You're young. You're vibrant. You have great-looking skin. Your hair is there, your teeth are there," Allman says. "The software ... morphs it into causing the physiological effects that meth causes — the open scabs, the droopy skin, the hair loss."

"It strikes at the vanity of teenagers," he tells NPR's Guy Raz.

The simulation program Face2Face — often called "Your Face on Meth" — shows teens what they would look like six months, one year and even three years into a methamphetamine habit.

"Some kids start crying when they see the devastating effect meth can do to their complexion," he says. "It was the way to crack the nut — to say, 'This could happen to you.'"

Allman is the sheriff of Mendocino County, a rural area on the northern California coast. He has seen a lot of teens and drugs in his 28 years in law enforcement. The Face2Face program was his idea.

Allman's own small town of has a population of 5,000 — any one of whom, he says, has a friend or family member who has been involved with meth. That kind of widespread use has law enforcement especially concerned.

"The addiction to methamphetamine is over 90 percent after the first-time use," he says. "My goal is to just stop that first-time use."

But is the Face2Face program really keeping teens off meth? Allman admits that he can't be sure.

"Our intent was not to use scare tactics on this, because scare tactics don't work," he says.

Remember the 1980s ad with a frying egg that coined the phrase "This is your brain on drugs?"

"That didn't work," Allman says.

"The 'Just Say No' didn't work. So we don't know what does work, but I can tell you that the software is having more of a positive effect than anything that I've ever been involved with on the drug fight."

An NPR Host As Seen By Face2Face

We thought we'd see how the Face2Face program would handle the face of Weekend All Things Considered host Guy Raz.

Host Guy Raz as a meth addict. Courtesy Laslo Vespremi

At left, host Guy Raz. On the right, how the computer projects he'd look one year into a meth habit. Courtesy Laslo Vespremi hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy Laslo Vespremi

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