Methamphetamine: Congressional Drug Warriors Keep Up Pressure on Drug Czar 7/29/05

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Republican drug warriors used a House subcommittee hearing Tuesday to renew their criticism of the Bush administration for proposed budget cuts that would affect programs that target methamphetamine. The administration's failure to put more emphasis on the fight against meth was also at issue in a hearing that saw an Office of National Drug Control Policy official get scolded by lawmakers.

Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN), who has used his position as chair of the Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources Subcommittee of the Government Reform Committee to make himself one of Congress' most prominent drug warriors, led the attack. "Stop cutting the budget for methamphetamine and back up the Congress," Souder told deputy drug czar Scott Burns. "Our frustration is building because meth is moving west to east, from rural to small cities to larger cities. When it hits it overwhelms us," Souder said.

"I'll deliver the message," Burns replied.

The administration has proposed cutting the $634 Justice Assistance Grants program, which provides federal dollars to fund multi-jurisdictional anti-drug task forces, as well as cutting the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program from $226 million to $100 million. It would also cut funding for a Justice Department program targeting meth from $53 million to $20 million, a 60% reduction. Rep. Souder and his colleagues are using the rising national concern about methamphetamine in an effort to see those cuts restored.

But even in the face of a torrent of "methamphetamine epidemic" stories in the press and ever louder cries from politicians to wage a tougher war on meth, Burns held his ground. He would not say there was an "epidemic" of meth use, instead noting that federal statistics showed the nation's 1.5 million meth users made up only 8% of the country's 19 million drug users.

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Issue #397 -- 7/29/05

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Editorial: Clear Thinking | The Sensenbrenner Effect: Fear, Firing, and Fallout on the Hill | Congress: House Turns Back Repeal of Higher Education Act Drug Provision, Battle Returns to Senate | Meth and Myth: Top Doctors, Scientists, and Specialists Warn Mass Media on "Meth Baby" Stories | DRCNet Book Review: "Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Expose of the Dark Side of American Policing," by Norm Stamper (2005, Nation Books, 396 pp, $26.00 HB) | Weekly: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | The Feds: DEA Doesn't Follow Own Rules on Snitches, Inspector General Says | Methamphetamine: Congressional Drug Warriors Keep Up Pressure on Drug Czar | Asia: Plan to Legalize Afghan Opium Production Drawing Attention | Search and Seizure: Flex Your Rights Provides Citizens' Guide to Refusing New York Subway Searches | Drugged Driving: No Conviction Based Just on Marijuana Traces, Michigan Appeals Court Rules | Media Scan: Time and New York Times on Pain, Nadelmann on Controlling Medical Marijuana | Weekly: This Week in History | Job Opportunity: Outreach Coordinator, Students for Sensible Drug Policy | Weekly: The Reformer's Calendar

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