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Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

Location: Washington, DC



S. 430. A bill to arrest methamphetamine abuse in the United States; to the Committee on the Judiciary.

Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, today I am introducing legislation to ensure that law enforcement has the resources it needs to address and eventually solve the methamphetamine crisis in this country. My bill is entitled the Arrest Methamphetamine Act of 2005. It would create a new formula-based grant program for States that have enacted sophisticated laws governing the sale of the precursor products used to make meth. My legislation is designed to help communities cope with the myriad problems being caused by meth, and ultimately to stop the growing meth epidemic in its tracks.

Never before has creating a separate program to finance the battle against meth been so critical. I am dismayed to see that the President's fiscal year 2006 budget request mortally wounds the COPS program and that his budget finishes off the already slashed and reconstituted Byrne grants program. These two mechanisms have provided anti-meth funds for years now, and each year, the administration's efforts to undermine the COPS program and the Byrne grants program further jeopardize law enforcement efforts against meth and the many other important law enforcement-related initiatives that these two programs have carried out for so many years. While I plan to work hard with my colleagues to restore funding to the COPS and Byrne programs generally, I do not see that our efforts to save these programs every year from the administration's chopping block is the best way to ensure that necessary financial resources are there for all aspects of the meth fight.

While the administration was busy slashing the $499 million COPS program all the way down to $22 million, the meth problems that the COPS program addresses only got worse. Meth abuse, as an epidemic, started in the West and the Midwest, but has more recently begun to move east. Meth use and production is exploding in North Carolina. Georgia law enforcement officials recently had one of the largest meth busts on record, and Missouri, Iowa and Minnesota have been inundated by severe meth problems. In 2003, methamphetamine was identified as the greatest drug threat by 90.9 percent of local law enforcement agencies in the Pacific region. By comparison, only 5.3 percent of agencies reporting identified cocaine as their biggest threat, followed by marijuana at 2.1 percent and heroin at less than 1 percent.

This epidemic of meth has permeated the most urban and most rural communities. Meth labs range in sophistication from being run by multi-national organized crime rings to back alley cook shops, and they exist in crudely converted farm houses and in illicit high-financed facilities run by Mexican drug rings. Meth victims are of all ages, and there is heart-wrenching data and anecdotes on meth addiction of mothers, and the impact of adult meth addiction on their very young children.

I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be printed in the RECORD.

There being no objection, the bill was ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:

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