Contact: Bob Weiner/Jon Marcin


(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 (, contributed to the op-ed.