The Bush administration is retreating in its battle against methamphetamine, a pullback that will hamper enforcement programs just as they are hitting their stride in hard-hit states such as Tennessee, reports Gannett News Service in The Tennessean. President Bush’s proposals to cut funding for many programs worry Tennessee officials who have seen firsthand the debilitating effects of methamphetamine in their communities. “If it passes the way it is, it would put us completely out of business,” said Billy Cook of the 14th Judicial District Drug Task Force, based in Manchester. The Drug Enforcement Administration says there were 1,259 meth incidents in Tennessee last year, putting Tennessee number 3 behind Iowa with 1,300 and Missouri with 2,707.
“I hope they don’t cut a thing because in a small county like ours, money is the first issue when it comes to fighting meth and federal money is where a lot of our resources have come from. They need to be adding to the funds, not taking away,” said Sheriff Robert Meeks of Grundy County. The rural county was among the first to experience the meth problem in Tennessee, about 10 years ago. Bush plans to spend $12.4 billion on the drug war in fiscal 2006, a 2.2 percent increase over current funding. Most of the additional money is targeted toward intercepting drug shipments before they cross the border and international programs, such as crop eradication.