DEWINE BILL WOULD CREATE CLEARINGHOUSE TO HELP COMBAT METH PROBLEM
U.S. Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH) introduced a bill that would help communities and local law enforcement share "best practices" to help combat the growing methamphetamine problem in Ohio and across the nation. The National Methamphetamine Information Clearinghouse (NMIC) bill, S.2046, would create a web-based source of information to promote the sharing of ideas for fighting the meth problem. The site would provide information on topics like law enforcement, treatment, environmental, and social services aspects of the meth problem, and other programs that combat the production, use, and effects of this dangerous drug.
"One of our challenges in the fight against meth is finding those who need assistance and connecting them with those who can help - and that's exactly what this clearinghouse can do," stated Senator DeWine. "The NMIC will serve two groups - law enforcement, and local communities affected by meth - whether that's social workers trying to help meth-orphaned children or the parent that wants to figure out if their child is addicted."
The website would provide information that agencies and organizations submit, describing successful strategies for combating the problem in their local communities. Links will be provided to methamphetamine information pages, and the site will also provide information on available grants for establishing and maintaining anti-meth programs. A restricted-access section will be a forum for local law enforcement agencies to post their successful strategies, training techniques, and conference notes so that other law enforcement agencies will be able to incorporate them into their current practices.
NMIC will be operated by the Department of Justice and will be governed by an Advisory Council compromised of 10 members from a variety of anti-meth related organizations. The Council will monitor submissions to the Clearinghouse and make sure that the information found on the site is accurate, useful, and up-to-date.
"The growing meth problem hits all parts of our state, including both rural and urban areas. The two counties with the most meth-related arrests last year were Summit and Clermont Counties. In Clermont County alone, more than 80 children have entered Child Protective Services in the last three years because of the neglect and dangerous conditions they faced living in a home with a meth lab. Social workers and families will be able to access the Clearinghouse for information and help. This will be another resource in battling meth at the local level," added Senator DeWine.
Not only are methamphetamines dangerous to the user, but its very production is extremely hazardous. For example, for every one pound of meth produced, five pounds of toxic waste are created, with the obvious dangers to anyone who would come in contact with it. The Drug Enforcement Agency reported cleanup costs in Ohio were $680,000 in 2004.
Senator DeWine has worked continuously to fight illegal drugs in Ohio and throughout the United States. He is a member of the newly-formed Senate Anti-Methamphetamine Caucus. In 2004, Senator DeWine helped six Southern Ohio counties secure High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) designations so they can receive more federal funding to fight drug trafficking in the state. Those counties are Fairfield, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Montgomery and Warren. Previously, in 1999, Senator DeWine led the effort to have five Northern Ohio Counties Cuyahoga, Summit, Stark, Mahoning and Lucas - designated as HIDTA counties. Currently, the Ohio HIDTA is helping organize the fight against illegal drugs.