March 28, 2006

Wyden and Smith to Drug Czar: Where is the plan?

Senators Call for More Resources Dedicated to Combat Meth

WASHINGTON, DC In a meeting on Capitol Hill today with the White House Drug Czar John Walters U.S. Senators Gordon H. Smith (R-OR) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) pressed the administration to step up their efforts to stop the spread of the deadly and fiercely addictive drug Methamphetamine.Meth is creating a crisis for Oregon families, and we wanted Mr. Walters to hear that bipartisan message from two Senators who have seen its impact, said Wyden. The White House has got to be a better partner, and they can start by not cutting support for successful programs that find and prosecute meth criminals.The administration said two years ago they would have a plan to combat drugs like methamphetamine, Smith said. Its been two years and we are still waiting for a plan. Methamphetamine is the number one drug problem in Oregon. Stopping the spread of methamphetamine should be a top priority. Implementing a national strategy that recognizes methamphetamine as a top threat is critical to stopping its production and entry into the United States from foreign countries.Smith and Wyden called on the administration to improve efforts to curb the manufacture of meth in other countries, especially Mexico, which is an increasingly large source of the drug. The Senators also called on the administration to preserve funding for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program under the jurisdiction of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). The program currently helps law enforcement in eight Oregon counties (Clackamas, Deschutes, Douglas, Jackson, Marion, Multnomah, Umatilla and Washington) to fight meth.In February, Smith and Wyden led a discussion of the methamphetamine epidemic in Portland, OR with federal, state, and local law enforcement and treatment and prevention experts. Officials at this meeting recognized the need for the administration to step up its efforts in combating methamphetamine. Smith and Wyden pledged to take their case to the White House. They did so today in their meeting with John Walters, the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) The ONDCP is responsible for setting the polices, priorities, and objectives of the nations drug control program.