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Public Statements

Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 2005

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


OFFICE OF NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - March 09, 2006)

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Mr. REHBERG. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 2 minutes.

First of all, let me begin by thanking Mr. Souder for his tremendous leadership on this issue, and in taking a look at this amendment, this is an extremely important amendment.

What the amendment does is it ensures that no less than 10 percent of the national media campaign funds will be expended on advertisements specifically intended to reduce methamphetamine use, and it allows the director to award grants to private entities.

I heard the joke not long ago that said, creativity is nice but plagiarism is a whole lot quicker. Usually plagiarism is not a good thing, but in this particular case I want to talk about a project in Montana that is worthy of copying in all the other 49 States.

Some of you computer nerds might recognize the name Siebel. Tom Siebel sold his business to Oracle, so he is out of that business. He set up a 501(c)(3) called The Meth Project in Montana. The Montana Meth Project is the first affiliate.

We are spending currently about $10 million just on methamphetamine use alone, trying to get a targeted message to 12- to 17-year-olds. Our children are using meth. We need to get to it.

It is a fabulous program. We do not need to recreate the wheel. What we do need to do is allow the director the opportunity to have the flexibility to grant monies from this program to other entities to prove that there are other advertising strategies out there.

When you go to the doctor with an illness, usually you go to a family practitioner; but when you finally find out what is wrong, you will probably go to a specialist. Methamphetamine is a cancer. We can carve out surgically the problem if we identify it. We use a rifle-shot approach if we follow a model similar to what is happening in Montana. Let me use the numbers. Within the last 6 months we have had 30,000 minutes of television, 30,000 minutes of radio advertising, print, billboards, Internet ads. We are reaching each teen in Montana, on average, 3 times a day. It is phenomenal and we are seeing the numbers drop.

These are the kinds of exciting programs that, once you make the determination that not all good ideas originate in Washington, D.C., there are ideas throughout the Nation, the rest of the country will be jealous. They will want the opportunity to copy what we have got going on in Montana.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. REHBERG. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself as much time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, I just want to thank everybody, everybody who has talked on the issue today, everybody who has been involved on this amendment and the bill as well. Mr. Cummings, Mr. Souder, your leadership on the whole drug issue has been very important to this country.

We are lucky in Montana. We have 930,000 people. We have 147,000 square miles, and we decided to make ourselves the pilot project to see if it could work, if we could have a massive campaign run like pretty much a political campaign. We have polling. We have focus groups. We have monitoring to see if our advertising is effective. We have both Senators, Senator Baucus, Senator Burns and myself, Governor Schweitzer.

We have the State legislature, law enforcement, district courts, Supreme Court, the judges and the U.S. Marshal all involved in this issue. It is the most phenomenal program I have ever seen, and I want to welcome you to the program, and I would like to share with you, as well, if you are interested in seeing the ads, if you would like a presentation, it is the kind of program that will make a government program that is already funded here in Washington even better.

We are not trying to replace it. All we are trying to do is present the idea to the drug czar, to the administration, to the director and say if you are interested in something like this, you ought to have the ability to either grant to an organization like this or this organization. It is a 501(c)(3), so it is a not-for-profit, but it is a great idea. So what we want to do is provide the flexibility.

Forty-four percent of teens believe meth helps you lose weight. Thirty-nine percent of teens believe that meth makes you feel happy. Thirty-five percent of teens believe meth gives you more energy. Twenty-three percent of teens have close friends who use meth. It scares me to death. I have a teenage daughter. I have one coming up shortly behind. Our children will tell you they are confronted by this problem every day at school. We did not have the fear that they do of going to school and being confronted with something that you use it once and it is proven it stays in your brain for many, many years, a drug that makes you want to pull your hair out, pick your skin off. You start bleeding. You lose your teeth.

This is the kind of thing we cannot allow in our country. There are a lot of issues we deal with on a daily basis in Congress. Sometimes we name post offices. Other days we deal with issues like September 11, and on a scale of 1 to 10 this is an 11. When it comes to issues that this country needs to deal with and this Congress needs to address, this methamphetamine use and drug use within our general population, especially among some of our most vulnerable, which are our teens, 13 to 17 or 12 to 17, we have got a program we would like to share with you as a pilot project.

There are many ideas out there coming up from all over the country, and what my amendment does is give the director the flexibility to try some new and creative things and require at least a simple 10 percent of the money for advertising be spent on methamphetamine.

Again, they have come in this year for a budget request of about $120 million. So this means at least $12 million would be spent. We are spending that much almost this year in Montana. So 10 percent is not enough.

Let me point out and thank at this time the other major players in this whole arena: television stations, radio stations, newspapers, the Internet. They are all voluntarily matching dollar for dollar every dollar that is being put in the Montana meth project. This is a tremendous volunteer organization and a tremendous advertising program. I think you will like it if you see it.

Again, I hope you will support the amendment; and to all my colleagues that spoke today, that worked on this amendment, thank you for giving us the consideration that you have. Please favorably look at this amendment and vote ``yes.''

Mr. Chairman, I yield back my time.

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