Combating Methamphetamine Abuse By Rebecca M. Rose, BJA Policy Advisor
According to the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 13 million Americans ages 12 or older reported using methamphetamine at least once during their lifetimes, representing 5.3 percent of the population.
According to the 2009 National Methamphetamine Threat Assessment, “Rising methamphetamine availability in the first half of 2008 coincided with indications of rising domestic methamphetamine production. The number of reported methamphetamine laboratory seizures in the United States decreased each year from 2004 through 2007; however, preliminary 2008 data and reporting indicate that domestic methamphetamine production is increasing in some areas of the country, and laboratory seizures for 2008 are outpacing seizures for 2007.”
In response to this continued threat, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) has supported programs to educate our communities about meth abuse and support law enforcement efforts to fight it. Meth Prevention and Education As first responders, law enforcement officers can play an important role in informing the public about the dangers associated with meth use.
Through a BJA-funded project with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America (the Partnership), law enforcement agencies across the nation are collaborating with other stakeholders to educate their communities about the dangers of meth and provide information, tools, and resources to educate and empower concerned citizens to address this threat in a proactive and informed way.
The program, Meth360, involves presentations that are co-delivered by teams of local law enforcement and treatment and prevention professionals in order to create an infrastructure to fight drug threats beyond meth. Two additional programs have been developed to complement the Meth360 program: (1) Parents360, which delivers information to parents about how to spot drug and alcohol use and what to do when they discover abuse, and (2) WreckED, an interactive prevention program that engages teen audiences in discussions about today’s drug and alcohol scene.
The Partnership has developed modules for different types of drugs of abuse so that these programs can be customized to address the greatest drug threats in a community. Improving Law Enforcement Investigations BJA supports several resources to improve the ability of law enforcement to effectively investigate methamphetamine activity: The Regional Information Sharing System provides secure communication capabilities, deconfliction services, investigative support, and specialized surveillance equipment.
Training for narcotics investigators and task force commanders that addresses officer safety, task force personnel and informant management, criminal intelligence, and risk management. Training and technical assistance to help states develop methamphetamine precursor tracking systems for investigative leads. Improving Outcomes Through Problem-Solving Meth addiction is treatable and through its Drug Court Program and other problem-solving initiatives, BJA has placed a priority on enhancing access to treatment resources.
Problem-solving courts in particular provide the added accountability and service coordination needed to address meth addiction. Problem-solving reentry courts or programs such as San Francisco’s Back on Track and Hawaii’s Operation HOPE are examples of other efforts to improve outcomes for drug-involved offenders. BJA has partnered with the American Probation and Parole Association to develop supervision strategies for meth-addicted offenders who are returning to the community following incarceration.
This added accountability from courts, probation, and law enforcement is central to effectively managing and treating a meth-involved offender. Protecting Drug Endangered Children Many professionals have witnessed the devastating effects experienced by children living in homes where meth is being made and used. As a result, multidisciplinary teams comprising law enforcement, social services, medical providers, and prosecutors have emerged to jointly protect and secure the interests of the child victims while building cases against those who commit crimes.
BJA has partnered with the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children to support communities throughout the nation in building and sustaining these multidisciplinary partnerships at the state and local level. RESOURCES BJA’s Role in Combating Meth: www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA/grant/combatmeth.html Meth
Resources: www.methresources.gov National Drug Intelligence Center’s National Methamphetamine Threat Assessment 2009: www.usdoj.gov/ndic/pubs32/32166/32166p.pdf Office of National Drug Control Policy’s Methamphetamine Facts and Figures: www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/drugfact/methamphetamine/index.html The Partnership for a Drug-Free America Meth360 Program: www.drugfree.org/meth360 National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children: www.nadec.org American Probation and Parole Association’s Reentry of Methamphetamine Addicted Offenders: www.appa-net.org/eweb/Dynamicpage.aspx?webcode=IV_ProjectDetail&wps key=6226e668-8911-4e6f-842f-e52d07b2b5df.