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Archive for Thursday, December 15, 2005

Midwest meth summit opens

December 15, 2005

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— Fewer clandestine labs are cooking methamphetamine but the nation still faces a problem from cartels that import the drug in purer form, officials at a Midwestern governors summit said Wednesday.

Despite the country's decrease in meth lab seizures - about 50 percent from last spring until this summer - meth addiction and abuse is still continuing, officials said.

"The number of people using meth and the number of people dependent on meth is increasing," Betty Oldenkamp, secretary of South Dakota's department of human services, told nearly 150 people at the meeting. "We'll never treat our way out of this - we have to get it on the front end."

Missouri has led the nation in meth lab seizures each year since 2001. In 2004, the total of all meth lab findings, including chemical dumpsites and discarded lab equipment, was 2,707, more than double the number in runner-up Iowa with 1,300, according to statistics released by the White House drug control office.

Across the country, the surge in methamphetamine abuse has strained local budgets, caused jail crowding and increased the number of children needing services as a result of meth abuse in the home.

"We can trace its path like a plague," Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said. "It does not respect individual lives between jurisdictions. If we call this effort to eliminate this problem a war, for once, we're not overstating it."

The conference is being presented by the Midwestern Governors Assn., which includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

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