A bipartisan group of Congress members has called on President Bush to convene an international summit on methamphetamine and the global trade in meth ingredients, reports The Oregonian. The proposed summit would bring together countries that encompass the drug’s vast marketplace from Asia to the Americas. “This is a problem that’s a worldwide epidemic, and we need to treat it as such,” said Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Ca.), a co-chair of the House Meth Caucus.
The lawmakers want Bush to seek increased funding for international agencies that track shipments of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine — chemical cousins used in cold and allergy medicines, either of which is essential in making methamphetamine. Amphetamines — mainly crystal meth — are the most widely abused illicit drugs on the planet aside from marijuana, says the United Nations 2005 World Drug Report. There are 26 million users worldwide, more than cocaine, heroin or opium. Most meth users are residents of Asia, not North America. Rep. Mark Souder (R-In.) said there is a greater chance of cracking down on the international trade in ephedrine and pseudoephedrine with help from countries like Japan and South Korea. “A lot of these countries have been drowning in it for a long time,” he said.