With methamphetamine addiction sweeping eastward, political momentum is building in Congress for a broad national strategy to destroy the illicit trade and control its essential chemical ingredients, a key congressional Republican told the Portland Oregonian. “Now is the time we push,” said Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., chairman of the House government reform subcommittee that deals with drug policy. Souder’s subcommittee is working on a comprehensive package of anti-meth legislation to be introduced in the next session of Congress.
“You’ve now reached a threshold. It’s crossed the Mississippi,” Souder said of the drug’s rapid spread. “You have a majority of Congress now interested in this.” The conservative Republican held a hearing Thursday in which the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the White House drug czar’s office testified about strategies to stop the drug. In addition, representatives for the pharmaceutical industry threw key support behind eliminating certain loopholes in current drug law. During the hearing, Souder spotlighted The Oregonian’s five-part series “Unnecessary Epidemic,” which showed the meth trade can be stopped with policies that target the drug’s essential ingredients — pseudoephedrine or ephedrine.