WASHINGTON, D.C. — Earlier this week, Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA-52) joined President Joe Biden in the Oval Office for a signing ceremony that made Peters’ bipartisan, bicameral Methamphetamine Response Act law. The bill, introduced by Reps. Peters and John Curtis (R-UT-03) in the House, and Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in the Senate, declares methamphetamine an emerging drug threat, triggering the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to create and deploy a national strategy to tackle the rising danger of meth addiction and overdose.
“Once known as the meth capital of the United States, San Diego has a long history in working to combat methamphetamine production and addiction. 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,” said Rep. Peters. “The new law will address this issue head-on by requiring the ONDCP to develop, implement and make public a national plan to prevent methamphetamine addiction and overdoses from becoming a crisis. As meth-related deaths continue to rise with each passing year, we must recognize meth as an emerging threat nationwide.”
“Communities across Utah and the United States are facing the challenges created by increased Methamphetamine abuse and addiction, which has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic” said Rep. Curtis. “Recognizing the need for bi-partisan federal policy, the Methamphetamine Response Act designates this as an emerging drug threat. It will develop and implement a nationwide plan to thwart the presence and usage of this highly dangerous drug. I am proud to have helped usher this legislation through Congress and into common law.”
“I thank President Biden for signing this important legislation into law,” said Sen. Feinstein. “Methamphetamine abuse has soared in recent years, with the NIH estimating that meth overdose deaths nearly tripled between 2015 and 2019. Now that our bill has become law, the Office of National Drug Control Policy will develop and implement a plan specifically targeting the rising use of methamphetamine. We can and must do more to prevent these senseless overdose deaths.”
“After working on this critical issue for the last few years, I’m pleased to see our Methamphetamine Response Act has been signed into law after receiving strong bipartisan support from Congress,” said Sen. Grassley. “While meth isn’t a new drug, traffickers are finding ways to increase its potency and widen distribution, which has resulted in a spike in overdose rates. Our new law will help law enforcement better respond to the challenges presented by drug traffickers’ evolving tactics, and it will ensure our federal partners continue prioritizing a response and strategy to address the meth crisis. I’d like to thank Senator Feinstein for her partnership on this issue.”
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.
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.