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Issue Position: Fight Against Meth

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"METHAMPHETAMINE IS THE MOST PERSONALLY AND ENVIRONMENTALLY DANGEROUS DRUG PROBLEM IN OREGON." - White House Office of National Drug Control Policy

"IN MY 34 YEARS IN THIS PROFESSION, METHAMPHETAMINE IS THE MOST DESTRUCTIVE SUBSTANCE I HAVE ENCOUNTERED." - Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniels

The rampant increase in methamphetamine ("meth") production, trafficking and abuse in recent years is cause for concern throughout the entire United States, especially in Oregon. With just over one percent of the nation's population, Oregon had more than seven percent of all admissions for substance abuse treatment throughout the country; and this toxic poison is now second only to alcohol for such admissions in the state.

The Second District - which includes eastern, central and southern Oregon - has been hit especially hard. While the district has 20% of the state's population, it hosted 35% of all meth labs seized throughout the state in 2004, and the trend unfortunately held steady in 2005 - a statistic not to be proud of.

In order to help raise awareness about this growing scourge, Congressman Walden held a series of seven town hall summits throughout the Second District in the spring of 2005. These summits brought together law enforcement, anti-drug coalitions, representatives from Governor Kulongoski's office and his methamphetamine task force, and officials from local, state and federal government. With attendance numbering in the hundreds at these events, it was encouraging to see so many community members, business owners, parents and students gather to learn about the toxicity of this poison and what they can do to help put an end to its vicious grasp. Greg would like to thank all of the panelists and attendees for making these events so successful.

Congressman Walden's office is in constant contact with those who helped bring these summits to life, and he has worked hard to forge a strong relationship with federal leaders on this issue, including the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). ONDCP Deputy Director Scott Burns traveled to Oregon with him for his summits in Medford and Grants Pass and also went to Pendleton in August 2004 to meet with the Blue Mountain Enforcement Narcotics Team (BENT). DEA Special Agent Ken Magee, who oversees Agency activity in Oregon, Idaho and southwest Washington, joined Greg for several of the summits as well. Greg will continue to work with these - and the many other talented professionals and organizations on the ground in Oregon - as the fight against meth advances.

Please take a minute to read "Crystal Meth," a very powerful poem written by a young man awaiting transfer to an Oklahoma State Penetentiary for meth-related crimes.

QUICK FACTS ABOUT METHAMPHETAMINE:

* Meth addicts can experience symptoms similar to those in Alzheimer's, stroke and epilepsy patients
* For every pound of meth produced, five-six pounds of toxic waste are produced
* 54 innocent children were found at meth lab seizures in Oregon in 2003
* Meth is easy and cheap to produce with ingredients found at local neighborhood stores: ephedrine/pseudoephedrine from cold medicine, sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide from drain cleaner, lithium from batteries, engine additives, rubbing alcohol, anhydrous ammonia - which is a chemical used in fertilizer, and camp stove fuel
* The number of young females being admitted for meth treatment has increased 57% since 1999
* Some forms of meth make you physically hooked after only one hit
* The National Association of Counties released a survey in which 60% of all counties listed methamphetamine as their number one drug problem.


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