March 18, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52), Rep. John Curtis (UT-03), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Methamphetamine Response Act. It declares methamphetamine an emerging drug threat which requires the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to develop, implement and make public a national plan to prevent methamphetamine addiction and overdoses from becoming a crisis.
Since the 1940s, San Diego has been widely recognized as an American epicenter for methamphetamine. While crackdowns in ingredient access have caused meth production to shift south into Mexico, the drug is more present, potent, and cheaper than ever before. A record total of 546 San Diegans died from meth in 2019, 63 more than the previous year, and the region’s 2020 report card shows there is far to go to get meth off the street and reduce abuse.
“Once known as the meth capital of the United States, San Diego has a long, arduous history in working to combat methamphetamine production and addiction,” said Rep. Peters. “Law enforcement officials still refer to our region as ‘ground zero’ for the nation’s meth problem, and a surge in the amount of the drug smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border in recent years has caused overdose cases to skyrocket. Our communities are in crisis and require the support of the government to address this issue head-on. As meth-related deaths continue to rise with each passing year, it is critical we recognize meth as an emerging threat nationwide.”
“Over the last decade, methamphetamine addiction and fatalities have skyrocketed across the United States – especially in rural areas like the ones I am proud to represent. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the problem by spreading resources thinly and making it more difficult to connect with individuals in need of support. To combat this threat, I am proud to co-lead the bipartisan Methamphetamine Response Act, which channels the necessary resources at the highest levels of government to develop and implement a nationwide plan to prevent this dangerous drug from becoming even more prevalent in our communities,” said Rep. Curtis.
“In a single year we’ve seen psychostimulant-related overdose deaths, which include meth, spike by 42 percent,” said Sen. Feinstein. “The meth available on our streets is pure, potent and cheap and law enforcement is seizing more of the drug than ever. Two of the largest seizures on record occurred in California last year and in just a four month period, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized more than 63,000 pounds of methamphetamine. Clearly we are in the midst of a meth crisis and we must implement a national, comprehensive plan to address this threat before it claims even more American lives.”
“For years, meth has taken lives and destroyed families across America, particularly in the Midwest. Though this drug is not new, drug traffickers are finding new and harmful ways to increase meth’s potency and distribution, spiking overdose rates. By declaring meth an emerging drug threat, our bill helps law enforcement better respond to the challenges presented by drug traffickers’ evolving tactics, and urges our federal partners to continue to prioritize a response and strategy to address the meth crisis,” Sen. Grassley said.
Specifically, the Methamphetamine Response Act:
- Declares methamphetamine an emerging drug threat, as defined in section 702 of the ONDCP Reauthorization Act of 1998
- Requires ONDCP to develop, implement, and make public, within 90 days of enactment, a national emerging threats response plan specific to methamphetamine, in accordance with section 709(d) of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998.
- The ONDCP plan must be updated annually and include the following:
- An assessment of the methamphetamine threat, including the current availability of, and demand for the drug, and evidence-based prevention and treatment programs, as well as law enforcement programs;
- Short- and long term goals, including those focused on supply and demand reduction, and on expanding the availability and effectiveness of treatment and prevention programs;
- Performance measures pertaining to the plan’s goals;
- The level of funding needed to implement the plan; and
- An implementation strategy, goals, and objectives for a media campaign.