U.S. Senators Unveil New Anti-Meth Caucus
In an effort to address the growing threat of methamphetamine use in America, U.S. Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) today joined with Conrad Burns (R-MT) and several colleagues in unveiling the Anti-Meth Caucus. This new group will work closely to formulate a cohesive, nationwide strategy against methamphetamine addiction.
"Meth abuse is a serious public health issue," said Biden, the Co-Chairman of the Senate Drug Caucus. "Our local communities need federal help dealing with the meth problem exploding in their towns. They need money for law enforcement, prevention programs, treatment resources. This caucus will help us focus on those needs and devote more resources to reducing methamphetamine use."
Senator Biden has been at the forefront of national policy on methamphetamine for nearly 15 years, issuing reports in the early 1990s warning that meth would make its way across the country and negatively impact rural America; writing major meth legislation in 1996 and 2000; and cosponsoring legislation this year to regulate cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine, the active ingredient in methamphetamine.
Today meth use and production is growing at an unacceptable level: the number of people entering drug treatment for meth addiction has increased almost sixfold in the last decade; Drug Enforcement Administration seizures of meth increased more than fivefold in that time frame; and more than 300,000 people began using meth last year, joining more than 11 million other Americans who have tried meth.
"Meth abuse is creating chaos in small town America. We are witnessing large-scale proliferation of small meth labs in homes, trailers, and garages where about $100 worth of materials from the local drug store can be cooked into about $1,000 worth of meth," said Biden. "These labs present an incredible danger to law enforcement who raid them, they are an environmental nightmare, and most importantly, they present an unbelievable hazard to kids."
Biden noted that between a third and a quarter of all of these drug labs are in homes with children. As many as 80% of the children found in these labs test positive for meth after living in the lab and breathing in the dangerous fumes produced in the process of cooking the drug.
"In many communities, meth is becoming a crisis - much more needs to be done, and fast. Therefore, we are forming this caucus to work together with a sense of urgency to enact legislation and bring attention to this growing drug problem," concluded Biden.
Other members of the Senate's Anti-Meth Caucus include Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND), Senator Chuck Grassley, (R-IA) Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Senator Jim Talent (R-MO).