PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 2829, OFFICE OF NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - March 09, 2006)
Mr. Speaker, drugs are a scourge. It is a scourge that is not just an inner-city problem. It has spread like a cancer into our small towns, our suburban areas, farming communities, areas that used to view the war on drugs with a certain jaundiced eye as being somebody else's problem.
In Florida, unfortunately, we have been on the cutting edge of this war, beginning with the cocaine cowboys of the eighties, the dope runners who would use our airstrips and grassy areas to bring things in from the Caribbean and from Central America, and we have seen how it has ripped apart our communities.
We have seen how it has filled our schools with children with severe learning disabilities and developmental difficulties because of decisions that their parents made in using these terrible drugs, these highly addictive and dangerous chemicals. We have seen the costs that it has on society, and it is nothing short of a national tragedy. So I am pleased that there is such bipartisan concern for dealing with this scourge.
I am heartened by the bipartisan number of amendments that are being offered to try and improve upon this work of really giving the ONDCP the authority and the teeth that they need to continue to go after this. This Congress is working together to curtail the dangerous proliferation of drugs, and particularly that of methamphetamines. Meth abuse is where we really see a tremendous amount of growth outside of the cities, outside of those traditional areas where we have associated drug use.
My home district in central Florida is not what you would stereotypically think of as a high-drug trafficking area, a high-crime area. It is an area of suburban bedroom communities for larger cities and rolling citrus hills and cattle ranches. The largest city has less than 80,000 people in it. And yet it is, unfortunately, on the short list of major production areas for methamphetamine because of its rural nature, because they can have these labs in the middle of nowhere, where the stench from the creation of that terrible drug is not noticed.
In fact, the DEA says that meth has become the most dangerous drug problem of small-town America. They note that young people ages 12 to 14 who live in small towns are 104 percent more likely to use meth than young people living in larger cities. What a frightening statistic for people who think that they are escaping big-city problems when they move to smaller towns. Meth abuse is most prevalent in these rural areas, as we said, because you can set these labs up anywhere without detection, the more rural the area is.
My district has seen a huge spike in meth abuse, meth production, since the nineties, which has a direct correlation to rising crime rates, overcrowded prisons and an impact on local law enforcement and local schools.
I appreciate the work of the Meth Caucus here in this Congress for continuing to bring attention to this epidemic of methamphetamine abuse. It is imperative that our Congress ensure that the Federal Government start treating this national problem with the same urgency and the same commitment that our State and local governments and grassroots advocacy groups have been treating it with for years.
I urge my colleagues to support the rule. I appreciate the hard work of Mr. Souder and Mr. Sessions and all the folks who have put so much into this, and I urge Members to support the underlying bill as well.