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Meth Problem Goes National, Experts Say 7/28/2005 intox.com
Statements by some federal drug officials to the contrary, experts told Congress this week that methamphetamine has become a national, not a regional, problem, Reuters reported July 26.
Meth use may have started in the West and in rural communities, but it is now affecting both rural and urban areas across the U.S., witnesses told a House subcommittee on criminal justice, drug policy and human resources, chaired by Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.).
"Historically, meth abuse was confined to the western United States and to rural areas. However, the drug has quickly spread east and is having disastrous consequences in rural, urban and suburban communities nationwide," said Valerie Brown of the National Association of Counties, echoing the results of a survey of county sheriffs released by her group earlier this month.
"The devastating consequences of methamphetamine are felt across the country by individuals, government agencies, businesses and communities of all sizes. Americans are waging a daily battle against this drug," agreed Joseph Rannazzisi, deputy chief of enforcement with the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Witnesses told the committee that steps to fight meth use and production could include restricting the sale of cold medicines whose ingredients can be used to make the drug, increasing border patrols, toughening criminal penalties on dealers, and providing better treatment for users.