Senate Passes Cantwell Legislation to Establish National Meth Prevention Week
U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), co-chair of the U.S. Senate Anti-Meth Caucus, applauded the Senate's unanimous approval Monday evening of her legislation establishing a National Meth Prevention Week to help increase awareness of this debilitating drug and educate the public about the dangers of meth use.
"Meth abuse is a growing problem we cannot ignore," said Cantwell. "We need to increase awareness of this drug's dangerous consequences before even more families become victims of this highly addictive drug. By educating the public about the dangers of this harmful drug, we can prevent lives from being destroyed and can make sure those suffering from meth abuse know how to get the help they need."
"A couple of months ago I was in a classroom in Vancouver and a young girl said she didn't know that something that was so easy to make could be so dangerous. I hope that a new National Meth Prevention Week will help teach all kids and their families that meth is a very dangerous drug that everyone should stay away from," Cantwell added.
Last month, the House passed identical legislation introduced by Congressman Brian Baird (D-WA). Monday's Senate action puts both the House and the Senate on the record in favor of establishing a National Meth Prevention Week.
In addition to promoting meth awareness initiatives, Cantwell has worked tirelessly to increase funding for anti-meth programs, and to move meth ingredients behind pharmacy counters. Earlier this year, Cantwell worked with her colleagues to include the Combat Meth Act and other anti-meth measures in legislation to re-authorize the Patriot Act. This new law restricts the sale of products used to produce meth, provides funds to help those affected by meth use, and gives new tools to states, law enforcement, and prosecutors working to combat meth. The legislation also authorizes $99 million for the Meth Hot Spots program, which provides grants to states and communities to clean up meth labs, purchase equipment, and train state and local law enforcement officials to investigate and convict meth offenders. In March, Cantwell worked with Senator Jim Talent (R-MO) to secure the unanimous Senate approved of an amendment to the Senate version of the Fiscal Year 2007 budget resolution to fund this vital program at the authorized level of $99 million during 2007. Cantwell will continue fighting to make sure this funding receives final approval.
Cantwell has also sponsored the Arrest Methamphetamine Act to curb meth trafficking across the U.S.-Canadian border into Washington, as well as legislation to investigate the link between meth crimes and other criminal activity such as identity theft.
The production and use of methamphetamine are increasing throughout the United States. The Drug Enforcement Administration reports that seizures of meth labs within the United States more than doubled in a recent 5 year period, from 7,438 in 1999 to 17,170 in 2004.