Rep. TJ Cox introduces bipartisan bill to confront threat of methamphetamines

Rep. TJ Cox
Rep. TJ Cox

Central Valley Rep. TJ Cox and Rep. John Curtis (Utah) introduced the Methamphetamine Response Act. This bill would declare methamphetamine an emerging drug threat. It would require the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to develop, implement, and make public a national plan to prevent methamphetamine addiction and overdoses from becoming a crisis.

Reps. David Trone, Michael San Nicholas, and Ed Case are original co-sponsors of this bill. Senators Diane Feinstein and Chuck Grassley introduced companion legislation in the Senate last month

"Methamphetamine addiction is a serious public health crisis, especially for our rural communities. This substance use disorder does not discriminate and has torn families apart across the country. Methamphetamine is notoriously one of the most common drugs in the Central Valley, and meth-related fatal overdoses are beginning to eclipse opioid deaths," said Cox. "As a proud member of the Freshman Working Group on Addiction, I'm proud to lead the introduction of this bipartisan, bicameral legislation that will help us face this crisis head-on. This bill will help us create and deploy a plan to prevent the spread of meth in our communities and save countless lives from addiction. 

"Over the last decade, methamphetamine addiction and fatalities have skyrocketed across the United States – especially in rural areas like the ones I am proud to represent. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the problem by spreading resources thinly and making it more difficult to connect with individuals in need of support. To combat this threat, I am proud to introduce the Methamphetamine Response Act that requires the Office of National Drug Control Policy to develop and implement a nationwide plan to prevent this dangerous drug from becoming even more prevalent in our communities," said fellow Rep. John Curtis. 

"As our nation continues to fight the opioid crisis, we need to recognize that methamphetamine is also hitting our communities hard, and unfortunately, I've seen the devastating impact of this drug firsthand in Western Maryland," said Congressman Trone. "We must take urgent action to address the many facets of the addiction epidemic and enable people to rebuild their lives. The Methamphetamine Response Act will take key strides toward developing and implementing a strategy to prevent addiction and tragic overdoses, helping us build a safer future." 

"Methamphetamine is, once again, emerging as a major threat to our nation," said Senator Feinstein. "In just one year, overdose deaths related to psychostimulants, which include methamphetamine, increased by 27 percent, the largest percent increase in deaths caused by any illicit drug, including fentanyl. Over the first nine months of the fiscal year, methamphetamine seizures increased by 52 percent, which shows how widely available this deadly drug has become. We must implement a national, whole-of-government plan to address this threat before it becomes the next preventable drug overdose crisis in our country." 

The Methamphetamine Response Act: 

  • Declares methamphetamine an emerging drug threat, as defined in section 702 of the ONDCP Reauthorization Act of 1998 
  • Requires ONDCP to develop, implement, and make public, within 90 days of enactment, a national emerging threats response plan that is specific to methamphetamine, in accordance with section 709(d) of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998. 
  • The ONDCP plan must be updated annually and include the following: 
  • An assessment of the methamphetamine threat, including the current availability of and demand for the drug, and evidence-based prevention and treatment programs, as well as law enforcement programs. 
  • Short- and long-term goals, including those focused on supply and demand reduction, and on expanding the availability and effectiveness of treatment and prevention programs. 
  • Performance measures pertaining to the plan's goals. 
  • The level of funding needed to implement the plan; and 
  • An implementation strategy, goals, and objectives for a media campaign. 

The bill also has the support of The Fraternal Order of Police, HIDTA Director's Association, The Sergeant's Benevolent Association, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), and The National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), and the National Criminal Justice Association. 

Read the full bill text here.  

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