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Press Releases :: December 21, 2007

Gordon’s Methamphetamine Bill Signed Into Law

(Washington, DC) Legislation designed to clean up methamphetamine (meth) in local communities across the country was signed into law by President Bush today.  

“While Tennessee has been hit especially hard by meth abuse, the problem certainly isn’t limited to any one state. This bill can and will serve to protect innocent families not only from the criminals who make and use this illegal drug, but also from the after effects of that crime,“ said the bill’s author, House Committee on Science and Technology Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN).  “This bill will bring much needed help to state and local law communities working to combat the meth problem day in and day out.”

H.R. 365, the Methamphetamine Remediation Act of 2007  requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop model, voluntary, health-based clean-up guidelines for use by states and localities with the goal of making sure the sites of former meth labs are safe and livable.

According to a 2006 National Drug Threat Survey of state and local law enforcement agencies across the nation, meth was named most often as the greatest drug threat in communities.

The Drug Enforcement Administration reported seizing roughly 7,000 methamphetamine labs last year. The chemicals used in making this extremely addictive drug are highly toxic and can infuse the walls, carpet and furniture of any house, apartment, hotel room or dwelling in which the drug was made. This pollution can impact the health of unsuspecting families who later inhabit the dwelling by exposing them to dangerous residual toxins with potentially devastating long-term affects.

“These toxic sites need to be cleaned properly to ensure the safety of future residents,” added Gordon

An extremely addictive drug, meth continues to damage the lives of individuals and families in nearly ever area of the country.  Its production and use has taken a considerable human and environmental toll on local communities. 

“Right now, there are unsuspecting families living in homes that were once illegal meth labs,” Gordon said.  “Dangerous and hidden toxic substances in these sites threaten the health of these families – with children being the most vulnerable to the devastating long-term effects of exposure.”

The legislation also authorizes the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to initiate a research program to develop meth detection equipment for field use.  Such equipment will help local law enforcement and first-responders detect active meth labs faster and assist in measuring contamination levels.  The legislation also requires a study by the National Academy of Sciences on the long-term health impacts on children rescued from meth labs and on first-responders.

The bill has been endorsed by numerous national organizations including The National Sheriff’s Association, The National Association of Counties and The National Association of Realtors.  It was reported by the House Committee on Science and Technology on January 24, 2007.  It passed the U.S. House on February 7, 2007 and the U.S. Senate on December 12, 2007. 

Chairman Gordon introduced versions of the bill in the 108th (H.R. 4636) and 109th Congresses (H.R. 798). Then, it passed both the House and Senate, but failed to complete the process before time expired in the 109th session. 

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