PHOENIX-Attorney General Terry Goddard stated recently that his Office will intensify its efforts in the fight against methamphetamine in the coming year by committing more resources to prosecute offenders and raising public awareness to prevent meth use.
"Meth remains the No. 1 crime problem in our state," Goddard said. "My Office will aggressively prosecute people who use, smuggle or cook meth. We will work with other agencies and the 23 anti-meth coalitions across Arizona to promote prevention."
The Attorney General's Office has added six positions this year devoted to meth investigation and prosecution. While the number of meth lab busts has declined, Goddard cited three lab busts in the East Valley in the past month as evidence that meth cooking continues to be a problem.
"We know that a large amount of meth is coming into Arizona from Mexico, and we have placed more emphasis on drug-smuggling. But as long as meth labs continue to menace our neighborhoods, we will continue to shut them down," Goddard said.
His comments came on the eve of National Methamphetamine Awareness Day, so designated in a proclamation by President Bush on Nov. 30. This date also marks the start of a nationwide campaign, led by the U.S. Department of Justice, to reduce meth use. The campaign includes the launch of a new educational Web site, www.usdoj.gov/methawareness. Much information about the drug and its destructive effects is also available on the Attorney General's Web site at http://www.azag.gov/StopMeth/index.html.
Goddard said he will again seek legislative approval of a meth law that puts cold medicines containing pseudophedrine-the key ingredient in making meth-behind pharmacy counters and requires buyers to show an ID and sign a log. More than half of the states have adopted such laws.
After the Legislature failed to approve the measure in the last session, Goddard encouraged cities and towns across the state to pass similar ordinances, and 46 have approved them.
The Attorney General also commended the work of several groups, including:
* Arizona's 23 anti-meth coalitions, which have mobilized hundreds of volunteers who are helping increase public awareness and prevent meth use.
* The Partnership for Drug-Free America, which has produced excellent public service announcements aimed at both parents and young people.
* Not My Kid, a Phoenix-based, not-for-profit organization, which has brought substance abuse education to students and parents through school presentations and an interactive Web site, notMykid.org.
* The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, who have joined with several rural counties to bring a high-impact, anti-meth advertising campaign to Arizona next year.