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NAAG Recognizes November 30 As National Methamphetamine Awareness Day
November 30, 2006
Attorneys General Pass Resolution In Support of National Day and to Encourage Efforts to Increase Community Awareness
The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) is partnering with a number of federal, state and local governments, as well as with private sector and non-profit entities, to recognize November 30, 2006 as National Methamphetamine Awareness Day, in order to generate awareness about the damaging effects of meth abuse on individuals, families and American communities.
Education and public outreach are at the heart of the national drug control strategy, and National Methamphetamine Awareness Day will play an important role in highlighting the nationwide efforts to increase awareness and decrease demand of this highly addictive and dangerous drug.
During NAAG?s 2006 Winter Meeting, held November 29-30 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Attorneys General passed a resolution which supported the designation of November 30, 2006 as National Methamphetamine Awareness Day and encouraged efforts to increase community awareness of the dangers associated with methamphetamine.
Prior to this important resolution and historic designation, state Attorneys General encouraged states and territories to develop and pursue a comprehensive approach to combating the manufacture, trafficking and abuse of methamphetamine, encompassing, inter alia, education, vigorous law enforcement, and treatment.
State Attorneys General called on states and territories to mount a broad-based, grass roots prevention campaign to inform both adults and children on the dangers of methamphetamine use by building broad based coalitions among law enforcement agencies and other community stakeholders.
Many Attorneys General have undertaken extensive community education and outreach programs for the public related to the devastating toll which methamphetamine has taken.
In Arizona, Attorney General Terry Goddard hosted a statewide solution-focused conference on methamphetamine which emphasized Education and treatment, as well as enforcement. In addition, on November 30, Attorney General Goddard issued a press release announcing that his office will intensify its efforts in the fight against methamphetamine in the coming year by committing more resources to prosecute offenders and raising public awareness to prevent meth use. His office has added six positions this year devoted to meth investigation and prosecution. Attorney General Goddard also announced he will again seek legislative approval of a meth law that puts cold medicines containing pseudophedrine - the key ingredient in making meth - behind pharmacy counters and requires buyers to show an ID and sign a log. More than half of the states have adopted such laws. After the legislature failed to approve the measure in the last session, Attorney General Goddard encouraged cities and towns across the state to pass similar ordinances, and 46 have approved them.
Maine Attorney General Steve Rowe commemorated National Methamphetamine Awareness Day on November 30 by publicly highlighting the cooperative efforts of his office with the U.S. Attorney?s office to ensure Maine?s preparedness to deal with meth-related issues. Their goal, since October 2005, has been to prevent a meth epidemic in Maine and to ensure the sufficient protocols exist to identify and treat children found in meth labs or other drug-endangered environments. Attorney General Rowe championed a bill aimed at preventing meth manufacturing, requiring that the active ingredients in cold medications commonly used to manufacture meth are kept behind pharmacy counters. The law also authorized pharmacies and retailers to maintain logs and request proof of identification of people purchasing pseudoephedrine products.
In conjunction with National Methamphetamine Awareness Day, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood announced a 65% decrease in the number of meth lab seizures since the enactment of the state?s Meth Law just over a year ago, to restrict access to ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.
In Montana, Attorney General Mike McGrath teamed up with State Superintendent of Schools on a pilot program to prevent the use of methamphetamine among Montana's young people. The "Tools for Schools" project, made possible through a grant from the Department of Justice, developed materials and programs for middle and high school educators working on meth prevention. Also, Montana launched a very successful Montana Meth Project, which is geared towards significantly reducing the prevalence of first-time methamphetamine use in Montana and sustains a campaign of research-based public service messaging?including advertising, public relations, and websites?to effect a substantial reduction in methamphetamine use among Montana?s youth. On November, 30, Attorney General McGrath wrote an editorial for state media highlighting the initiatives of his office and activities in the state.
Nevada Attorney General George Chanos issued a press release in conjunction with National Methamphetamine Awareness day to highlight the activities of his office. Earlier this year, Attorney General George Chanos co-hosted a statewide Meth Summit, with more than 170 people from law enforcement agencies, social service organizations, education and the judiciary participating. During the three day meeting, participants were divided into work groups and made a number of recommendations to increase law enforcement participation in local coalition community group meetings, finding funding sources to enhance the statewide drug court process, implement a statewide education program and appoint a community coordinator to organize representatives from law enforcement and other areas to keep statistics and report findings to state/federal government. In addition, Attorney General Chanos submitted a Bill Draft Request (BDR) to the state legislature to update state laws pertaining to the manufacture and use of methamphetamine in the state to place controls on the sale of pharmaceuticals containing precursor materials used to make methamphetamine.
In conjunction with National Methamphetamine Awareness Day, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced a 40% drop in meth labs in 2006, thanks to a new law enacted in January 2006 that makes it more difficult for criminals to get the drug?s main ingredient. The new law, pushed by Attorney General Cooper, requires that all single and multi-source tablets, caplets or pills containing pseudoephedrine and ephedrine be sold behind a pharmacy counter. Purchasers must be at least 18 years old and show a photo ID and sign a log to buy these products. The law also limits purchases of these products to no more than two packages per transaction and no more than three packages within 30 days without a prescription. As part of the push against traffickers, Attorney General Cooper has directed the office to build on its existing partnerships with local and federal law enforcement to boost efforts to go after large drug operations that bring meth, cocaine and other drugs into North Carolina. His office has established a statewide coordinator and assigned an Assistant Special Agent in Charge in each of its eight districts across the state to better coordinate drug investigations, and is working with local officers to identify problem drug dealers and to establish drug trafficking task forces in communities. The office also plans to develop a database of drug intelligence specifically to track traffickers.
In North Dakota, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem developed a brochure that explains the dangers of methamphetamine use.
Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro announced November 30 launched a new Web site to educate the public about the methamphetamine problem in Ohio and give people a place to report suspected meth labs and abuse. The office?s Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation will check into tips given to the office, including anonymous tips.
Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch announced November 30 that he will, for the second year, craft and submit a bill to the General Assembly that would significantly enhance penalties for the manufacture and possession of methamphetamine and its precursors. He said his legislation will also incorporate the initiation of a statewide study commission to explore the need for meth education and to examine the current laws pertaining to meth crimes. He also affirmed the importance of the national effort to draw attention to the destructive effects of meth on American communities.
Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell participated in a November 30 panel discussion in recognition of National Methamphetamine Awareness Day. This discussion, led by United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, was held on the campus of The George Washington University in Washington D.C. and was sponsored by The U.S. Department of Justice and The George Washington University Medical Center. Other speakers included officials from the U.S. Department of Health, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the National Institutes of Health and a research counselor and former meth addict from Iowa Health.
Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna has launched ?Operation: Allied Against Meth?, a three-pronged effort to provide direct assistance to local prosecuting attorneys, team with community-based organizations to educate and prevent methamphetamine use and develop long-term meth prevention strategies.
National Methamphetamine Awareness Day is a coordinated effort not only to reach potential meth users with a message of prevention, but also to educate current users about the programs available to them. In order to increase the impact of this message, the U.S. Justice Department, the primary sponsor of National Methamphetamine Awareness Day, is partnering with a number of entities, including: the National Association of Attorneys General; U.S. Department of Labor; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; U.S. Department of Interior; Office of National Drug Control Policy; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Partnership for a Drug-Free America; Boys & Girls Clubs of America; Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America; Fraternal Order of Police; National District Attorneys Association; Inter-Association Task Force on Alcohol and Other Substance Abuse Issues; American Council on Education; National Association of Student Personnel Administrators; American College Health Association; Association of Fraternity Advisors; and the National Panhellenic Conference.
As part of the ongoing efforts to combat meth use, the Department of Justice created a model methamphetamine educational presentation that is available to the public to be used by law enforcement, community groups and local leaders in addressing meth use in their communities. The educational presentation is posted on the Department's new meth Awareness Web site.
For more information about National Methamphetamine Awareness Day and how to get involved in your community, contact your Attorney General or the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Public Affairs at 202-514-2007 or visit http://www.usdoj.gov/methawareness.
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