Pubdate: Wed, 08 Oct 2003
Source: Oklahoman, The (OK)
Copyright: 2003 The Oklahoma Publishing Co.
Author: Sheila K. Stogsdill


JAY -- A new Delaware County community action group wants Oklahoma added to 
a federal program aimed at fighting drug trafficking, coalition members 
said Tuesday. High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area is a federally funded 
program that provides money and resources to fight drug trafficking and use 
in designated areas, the Rev. Steve Dyer said.

Dyer is chairman of the Delaware County Citizens Against Meth, a group of 
Grove and Jay law enforcement officers, local doctors, pastors and 
educators. It also includes representatives of the Oklahoma Council on 
Alcoholism, the Cherokee Nation, District Attorney Eddie Wyant and Delaware 
County Associate District Judge Barry Denny.

The group was formed in 2002 with the goal of finding pro- active solutions 
to the methamphetamine problem in the area, Dyer said.

He said there are a few Oklahoma counties in the program, but none in 
northeast Oklahoma have been designated. Coalition members will appeal to 
U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, and Don Nickles, R-Ponca City, to have 
northeast Oklahoma included in the program, he said.

Oklahoma law enforcement agencies seized 1,254 methamphetamine labs last 
year, placing the state among the nation's leaders, according to numbers 
provided by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

District Attorney Eddie Wyant said it costs from $2,500 to $3,000 clean up 
each methamphetamine lab, many of which are found in vehicles, hotel rooms 
or homes.

The Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services found that the 
state's overall use of methamphetamine in 1999 was 42 percent higher than 
the national average.

In addition to the federal program, the group wants drug education in all 
Delaware County schools to include specific information on methamphetamine 
and school assembly programs that address these concerns.

The group also favors drug courts, which use strong treatment plans.

A recent $100,000 grant from the state Mental Health and Substance Abuse 
Department should have the new program in place by the end of October, 
Wyant said.
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