Methamphetamine-related emergency room admissions are up dramatically in places like the Midwest, and the Congressional Meth Caucus claims 103 members – nearly one in four House members, says the Modesto (Ca.) Bee. That frustrates Californians, whose state accounts for 75 percent to 90 percent of the nation’s meth production. A massive spending bill signed by President Bush last week offers $52.5 million for anti-meth measures, including some in California.
One is $100,000 for Merced County’s relatively new Meth is Death program. Conceived by Sheriff Mark Pazin and Merced College President Ben Duran, the Spanish-language program uses commercials on Univision and comic book-style foto novelas to communicate meth’s dangers. Pazin believes the program contributed to a decline in local methamphetamine labs discovered, from about 200 last year to about 100 this year. The $52.5 million in federal funds designated for fighting meth is a 50percent more than was spent in fiscal 2000; it’s a sharp drop from the $70 million provided in fiscal 2002. The latest spending bill targets funds for anti-meth programs in two dozen states, with the likes of North Dakota, Nebraska, and South Carolina all getting their share.