Caucus and Staff Reports
January 27, 2005
Methamphetamine Abuse: The Search for Solutions
Staff Report to Mr. Gordon
Ranking Democratic Member
Committee on Science
U.S. House of Representatives
On May 10, 2004, the Committee on Science sponsored a roundtable on the growing methamphetamine problem in Middle and Southeast Tennessee. This event was hosted by Representative Bart Gordon, the ranking Member of the Science Committee, on the campus of Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, Tennessee. As the use of methamphetamines has spread, for reasons that will be elaborated upon below, so has awareness of the challenges associated with this drug. No other narcotic brings with it the wide-array of dangers - crime, social consequences, environmental degradation, property damage - that comes with the use of methamphetamine. As one of the experts who appeared at our roundtable, Dr. Sullivan Smith, put it: “This drug terrifies me; it threatens the fabric of our society.” The Federal government has yet to develop a broad integrated strategy for how to respond to methamphetamine and states are dealing with this emerging epidemic in an uneven manner.
Because the Science Committee’s jurisdiction covers all civilian research and development programs of the Federal government, we were particularly interested in identifying new tools or techniques that local social services, health, law enforcement and environmental specialists believe they would benefit from having in their struggle against methamphetamine. The roundtable considered two broad aspects of this growing problem:
- the consequences of methamphetamine production and abuse for children, the environment and the community broadly; and,
- law enforcement investigation and prosecution challenges.
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