Pubdate: Wed, 27 Jul 2005
Source: Asheville Citizen-Times (NC)
Copyright: 2005 Asheville Citizen-Times
Author: Pamela Brogan
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Proposed Funding Cuts, Lack Of Plan To Control Drug Panned

WASHINGTON -- Republicans on a key drug panel scolded the Bush 
administration Tuesday for proposing budget cuts in programs that combat 

"Stop cutting the budget for methamphetamine and back up the Congress," 
Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., told Scott Burns, an official at White House 
Office of National Drug Control Policy at a hearing.

"Our frustration is building because meth is moving west to east, from 
rural to small cities to larger cities. When it hits it overwhelms us," 
Souder said.

Souder is chairman of the Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources 
Subcommittee of the Government Reform Committee.

Republican lawmakers also criticized the Bush administration for failing to 
develop a comprehensive plan to control meth.

"I don't hear anything that looks like a plan," warned Rep. John Mica, R-Fla.

Burns, who is deputy director of state and local affairs for the White 
House drug office, said, "I'll deliver the message."

Burns said he agrees the administration needs to develop a national 
strategy to control meth but stopped short of calling methamphetamine an 

The nation's 1.5 million meth addicts represent only about 8 percent of the 
nation's 19 million drug users, according to federal estimates.

But meth is the fastest growing drug problem, is extremely addictive and 
creates other special problems such as abandoned children and hazardous wastes.

The Bush administration has proposed eliminating funding for some meth 
programs and slashing funds for others.

The president wants to eliminate a $634 million grant program for state and 
local police departments used to bolster anti-drug task forces and cut 
anti-drug spending in High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas from $226 
million to $100 million.

He also would reduce spending on a Justice Department methamphetamine 
initiative from $52.6 million to $20 million, a 60 percent cut.

Meanwhile, Congress is attempting to restore the proposed cutbacks.
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