FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 24, 2005
Contact: Bob Weiner/Jon Marcin
DRUG CRISIS MANDATES METH LAW THAT MAKES SENSE LIKE OKLAHOMA'S,
SAYS EX-WHITE HOUSE DRUG SPOKESMAN
(Washington, DC) -- The national methamphetamine crisis mandates new
laws in congress and in the states like Oklahoma's new law, driving down
dealing by 80%, says Robert Weiner, former spokesman for the White House
Office of National Drug Policy. In an op-ed in today's Richmond Times
Dispatch, Weiner says that most states are passing stricter penalties
and voluntary education campaigns, but they are ineffective.
In the op-ed, "Drug Crisis: State Needs Meth Law that Makes Some Sense,"
Weiner states, "A VOLUNTARY program and stronger penalties for meth
production after-the-fact frankly dodge the issue of addicts and
criminals buying so-called cold medicines as ingredients to make
methamphetamine in home labs.
"What state and national legislators must do is mold their legislation
after Oklahoma's already adopted and proven-effective anti-meth law.
Last year, after facing the crippling problem, Oklahoma became the first
state in the nation to restrict the sale of pseudoephedrine -- an
ingredient found in most over-the-counter cold medicines and a main
ingredient in meth. The new law requires stores to keep popular cold
medicines behind the counter, have a pharmacist or technician on duty to
check buyer's identification, have purchasers sign a log book, and
submit that information to a statewide database linking pharmacies. The
law has resulted in an astounding 80-percent reduction in meth-lab busts
in the state. It's what you'd call a "no-brainer."
"In fact, the Oklahoma law has worked so well that dealers and producers
are flocking to other states to continue their crimes. If Virginia
doesn't put meth ingredients behind the counter, the exiled dealers and
producers are going to settle and make their meth here.
"Seeing the Oklahoma success, 19 states have already passed legislation
that follows the blueprint of the Oklahoma law and puts ephedrine behind
the counter but not Virginia, nor the U.S. Congress on a national basis.
"The federal government remains slow to act. Congress is under immense
pressure from the drug companies and their $96 million in lobbying
power, selfishly pushing for softening of proposed federal and state
legislation and pushing for any federal action to supercede tougher
state laws like Oklahoma's. The drug companies' monetary power -- paid
for by the sick people of America -- should be used for medicinal
research and development, not a lobbying campaign to disrupt the
national interest for further financial gain.
Weiner concludes by asserting that states "can't wait for federal
action, and time is ticking away as dealers and producers flock to
states with weaker laws."
Weiner was spokesman and Director of Public Affairs for the White House
Office of National Drug Control Policy 1995-2001. Emma Dick and Dino
Manalis, policy analysts at Robert Weiner Associates
(www.weinerpublic.com), contributed to