Midwest law enforcers are worried that methamphetamine problems are about to surge again at a time of extreme federal slashes in police funding, reports the Chicago Tribune. In Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, and Nebraska, the story is the same: Just as statistics show that anti-meth task forces may be beginning to gain an upper hand on those who manufacture, deal, and use the highly addictive drug, the source of most state drug-enforcement funding is slated to disappear overnight. “It couldn’t come at a worse time,” said Terry Lemming, the statewide drug-enforcement coordinator for the Illinois State Police. “After all the success we’ve started to have, this could set the Midwest back a good 20 years in our fight against this drug.”
Congress last December drastically cut funding for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, the primary program used to finance drug enforcement in nearly every state. Many members of Congress say they want to restore funding, but they could fail because the war on terrorism and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, they say, have trumped the nation’s war on drugs at home. In Missouri, where a startling 20 percent of the nation’s meth arrests are made, officials grimly predict they will have to start laying off a significant number of their already overwhelmed drug-enforcement officers. Iowa officials worry about closing the lion’s share of their anti-meth task forces. But they have other fears too. Since the state has been so successful at cutting down in-state meth productions–lab busts have plummeted from more than 1,300 in 2004 to less than 200 last year, an indication their numbers are drastically down–the state has seen an influx of meth from drug cartels.