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Bill to Help Combat Meth Problem Passes Out of Committee

Location: Washington, DC


U.S. Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH) announced that the Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization (S.2560) has passed out of the Judiciary Committee yesterday and is headed to the Senate floor. The bill, sponsored by Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), incorporates a measure written by Senator DeWine that creates a clearinghouse which would help communities and local law enforcement share "best practices" to help combat the growing methamphetamine problem in Ohio and across the nation. The measure would establish the National Methamphetamine Information Clearinghouse (NMIC), which would create a web-based source of information to promote the sharing of ideas for fighting the meth problem. Information sharing would include topics like law enforcement, treatment, environmental, social services, and other programs that combat the production, use, and effects of this dangerous drug.

"This clearinghouse will help us in our fight against meth by finding those who need assistance and connecting them with those who can help," said Senator DeWine. "The NMIC would serve both 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. I am pleased that the bill has passed the committee and urge my colleagues in the Senate to support its final passage."

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, as well as 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, law enforcement, and the Department of Health and Human Services. 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.

Not only is methamphetamine dangerous to the user, but its very production is extremely dangerous. 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 alone was $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.

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