Rachel Brand, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy, and John Walters, Director of National Drug Control Policy, today joined other high-ranking U.S. anti-drug officials and the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Mexico, Ambassador Eduardo Ibarrola, to release the Nation's first Synthetic Drug Control Strategy.
The Synthetics Strategy, a companion document to the President's National Drug Control Strategy, details plans for unprecedented cooperation with Mexico and other international partners to drastically reduce the flow into the United States of both methamphetamine and the precursor chemicals used to produce the drug. The Synthetics Strategy calls for 15 percent reductions in methamphetamine use and prescription drug abuse over the next three years and a 25 percent reduction in domestic meth labs.
The Synthetics Strategy outlines a three-tiered approach to the United States' international efforts: improving intelligence and information on the global market for precursor chemicals; effective implementation of the Combat Meth Act, signed into law by President Bush this March, which sets a national standard for restricting the retail sale of precursor chemicals within the United States; and strengthening law enforcement and border control activities, particularly with Mexico.
"Although teen drug use in the United States has dropped by nearly 20 percent over the last three years, meth is a particularly devastating drug threat that requires a specific, balanced response," said Director Walters. "We will not let up on the pressure being applied to the methamphetamine market. The aggressive measures called for in the Synthetics Strategy build upon significant progress already made as a result of law enforcement efforts and legislation enacted at the state and federal levels. We are actively working with our allies in the global community - most importantly Mexico, India, Germany and China - to toughen our collective resolve to implement meaningful international supply controls. Already, the international community has agreed to tighten control on precursor shipments by enacting a U.S. drafted resolution at the United Nations Commission on Narcotics Drugs conference in March."
The Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are key components in the effort to work more closely with Mexican law enforcement. Intelligence, investigation and enforcement efforts will focus on large-scale methamphetamine trafficking organizations operating in Mexico and the United States. In addition, the DEA and Mexican law enforcement officials will establish specialized methamphetamine enforcement teams on their respective sides of the border.
"The Synthetic Strategy is a comprehensive plan that focuses on reducing the supply of methamphetamine and controlled substance prescription drugs through aggressive enforcement efforts and on reducing the demand for these drugs by supporting prevention and treatment programs to stop first-time use and to help those struggling to overcome addictions," said Assistant Attorney General Brand.
Echoing the balanced approach taken by the President's National Drug Control Strategy, the Synthetics Strategy also highlights the importance of prevention and treatment in the effort to reduce methamphetamine use and prescription drug abuse.
The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, in conjunction with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, has launched the first meth-specific television advertising campaign. The ads are being disseminated in 23 cities across the country that have been particularly hard-hit by methamphetamine, and will include Spanish language content within the month.
The Synthetics Strategy calls for continued research and support for effective treatment protocols specific to methamphetamine addiction. Through programs like drug courts and the President's Access to Recovery treatment voucher plan, state and local jurisdictions can directly meet the unique needs of those struggling with addictions to synthetic drugs.
The Synthetics Strategy is the result of a coordinated interagency process. Officials from the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, the Department of Transportation, and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, in consultation with state and local leaders, conducted a thorough examination of the Nation's methamphetamine and controlled substance prescription drug abuse problems. Additionally, they developed recommendations for administrative, legislative and enforcement action, as set forth in the National Synthetic Drugs Action Plan of October 2004; and reported progress on those recommendations in the Interim Report of May 2005. The 2006 Synthetics Strategy provides a final status report on the recommendations and charts new strategies for further domestic and international progress against synthetic drugs trafficking and abuse. Participants in the release of the Synthetic Drug Control Strategy included Brand, Walters, and Ibarrola, along with Anne Patterson, Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs; Uttam Dhillon, Director of Counternarcotics Enforcement for the Department of Homeland Security; and Michael Braun, Chief of Operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration.