Oregon's toughest anti-methamphetamine went into effect on July 1.
The law requires all cold medicines with pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in methamphetamine, to be available by prescription only.
In the meantime, the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation giving priority designation to Multnomah County's "Stomp Out Meth Project," a methamphetamine addiction prevention program. The legislation now goes to the U.S. Senate for approval.
U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer
U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., requested congressional support for the project earlier this year.
"Restricting the amount of meth on the streets will mean stronger communities and safer families," said Gov. Ted Kulongoski.
The landmark methamphetamine law is the toughest anti-methamphetamine law in the nation. Many consumers have already begun switching to other cold remedies, and pharmaceutical companies are manufacturing and distributing non-prescription cold products with pseudoephedrine alternatives.
A methamphetamine task force, composed of law enforcement, treatment providers, prevention experts, private business and others estimates that the number of meth labs has dropped by 77 percent.
"The financial impact of one meth lab for the state is around $350,000 after child welfare, job loss, property damage, law enforcement and other factors have been considered," said Rob Bovett, a member of the governor's task force. "When all is said and done, a continued reduction in the number of meth labs could mean at least savings of $168 million for Oregonians."
Multnomah County's "Stomp Out Meth project combines prevention and prosecution to tackle the methamphetamine problems in Multnomah County, Blumenauer said.
Priority designation was given to the Stomp Out Meth Project as part of a larger bill funding U.S. Department of Justice Programs. A specific funding level will be included for the program later in the legislative process.
Multnomah County created the program as a comprehensive response to the local meth problem. This project provides resources for four components essential in the fight against meth; law enforcement response; treatment programs; prevention media campaigns; and support for prosecution.
Specifically, the funding will be used for the following:
• Increased law enforcement capacity by purchasing a hazardous materials command and response vehicle and two additional vehicles capable of navigating remote areas of the county and towing large equipment trailers when called upon to investigate, seize and remediate meth labs. The hazmat response vehicle will be outfitted with equipment for response, assessment, mitigation and processing of drug labs.
• Development and production of two media campaigns to prevent meth use. Media campaigns will be targeted at two high-risk groups — young women and Hispanic youth.
• Creation of a meth treatment program focused on adolescents.
• Establishment of an elite "meth strike team." This team will be composed of four deputy district attorneys and a clerical staff person who will be dedicated entirely to the prosecution of meth-related crimes. These deputy district attorneys will focus on property crime, identity theft, drug prosecution and juvenile dependency/custody.
Priority designation for the program was included in H.R.5672, the Fiscal Year 2007 Science, State, Justice and Commerce Appropriations bill. The legislation must now be approved by the U.S. Senate.