December 05, 2006

Congress Will Not Preempt State Measures in Federal Methamphetamine Legislation

Wyden, Smith supported changes to Combat Meth Actto protect tougher state laws on drug precursors

Washington, DC - U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) today announced that the Combat Meth Act approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee today will not preempt tougher state laws restricting access to cold medicines containing methamphetamine precursors. The preemption provision, opposed by both senators, was removed from the bill prior to committee approval. "Federal legislation is desperately needed to confront the country's growing methamphetamine crisis, but it should not restrict Oregon's ability to protect the health and safety of their citizens as we see fit," said Wyden. "Now the Combat Meth Act provides a proper baseline for aggressive anti-meth efforts nationwide." "It's critical that we work hand-in-hand with state and local law enforcement," Smith said. "They are on the front lines of the battle against meth, and I want to give them the tools to get the job done." Methamphetamine is one of the most deadly, fiercely addictive and rapidly spreading drugs in the United States. During the past decade, while law enforcement officers continue to close record numbers of clandestine labs, methamphetamine use in communities has increased by as much as 300 percent. The Combat Meth Act would make critical funding available to states, including Oregon, for equipment, training for law enforcement agents and prosecutors to bring legal action against meth offenders and clean-up meth labs. It also would provide treatment grants for those affected by this dangerous drug. Wyden and Smith joined U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Jim Talent (R-Mo.) earlier this year in sponsoring the Combat Meth Act, which not only restricts access to cold medicine containing methamphetamine precursors but also provides resources and tools to help law enforcement officials and prosecutors to pursue and punish producers and distributors of meth, seeks to increase community awareness of the meth problem, and establishes new treatment options.