Newsbrief: VP Hopeful John Edwards Makes Methamphetamine a Campaign Issue 10/15/04

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Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards Monday used a conference call with Midwest reporters to try to make methamphetamine use and manufacture an issue in the presidential campaign. In the call, Edwards unveiled plans for expanded prevention, treatment, and enforcement, as well as restrictions on over-the-counter cold medications used as ingredients in home meth lab recipes.

John Edwards' anti-meth plan
would restrict Sudafed sales.
"Faced with the meth scourge that has devastated families and communities throughout rural and small town America, George Bush has done worse than nothing," said Edwards. "He has failed to come up with a plan to address the problem and has actually cut important law enforcement measures that fight meth use and trafficking. John Kerry and I understand how meth is hurting rural communities, and we have a real plan to stop meth in its tracks. By cracking down on meth trafficking and expanding smart treatment and prevention, John Kerry and I will stop this deadly epidemic."

The Edwards announcement came as he campaigned in Iowa, a state where methamphetamine has been the demon drug du jour since the late 1990s. Notably, Iowa is also a fiercely contested battleground state in the November election. A Chicago Tribune poll released Tuesday had Bush at 47% and Kerry at 45%, with Ralph Nader polling 1%. With the difference well within the poll's 4.4% margin of error, Iowa is essentially a dead heat going into the campaign's final weeks.

Methamphetamine is "a cancer on rural areas and small towns," Edwards said as he promised that if he and Sen. John Kerry are elected, they would crack down on meth labs and dealers. "John and I believe we have a moral responsibility to do something about this," he said.

Edwards said a Kerry administration would spend $30 million on preventive measures, as well as increased funding for drug treatment programs and increased meth prosecutions in state courts. He also said he would push for federal limits on the amount of cold medicines consumers could purchase that contain pseudoephedrine, such as Sudafed. Customers would be limited to two standard-size packages a day under the Edwards proposal.

Edwards also raked the Bush administration with some vintage drug war rhetoric, saying: "The number of meth labs discovered has gone up 79% since George Bush took office, and the number of kids killed has tripled. Thousands of lives are being ruined."

In a response to Edward's comments to the Associated Press, Bush campaign spokesman Brian Jones accused Kerry of voting against a 1999 bill that would have toughened penalties for drug manufacture, including methamphetamines. He also pointed to a nationwide decline in meth use among young people last year.

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Issue #358, 10/15/04 A Message from the Executive Director on What DRCNet is Planning After Election Day and Why We Need Your Help | Now You See It, Now You Don't: The Amazing Vanishing DEA Pain FAQ | Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative Appears Headed for Victory | Second Medical Marijuana Initiative Faces Tough Fight in Oregon | Medical Marijuana on the Local Ballot in Ann Arbor, Berkeley, Columbia | DRCNet Book Review: "Narcotic Culture: A History of Drugs in China" by Frank Dikotter, Lars Laaman and Zhou Xun (Oxford University Press, $35.00 HB) and "Opium: A Portrait of the Heavenly Demon" by Barbara Hodgson (Greystone Press, $14.95 PB) | Newsbrief: VP Hopeful John Edwards Makes Methamphetamine a Campaign Issue | Newsbrief: AMT, Foxy Methoxy Permanently Placed on Schedule I | Newsbrief: Congress Votes to Double US Troops in Colombia | Newsbrief: European Drug Think Tank Rips US on Afghan Opium Policy -- No "Plan Afghanistan," Please, Says Senlis Council | Newsbrief: Dinosaurs Walk the Earth as Prohibition Party, Independent Candidate Demand Return of Alcohol Prohibition | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | This Week in History | Administrative Assistant: Part-Time Job Opportunity at DRCNet | The Reformer's Calendar

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