(SEATTLE, WA) -- Today at a press conference in Seattle, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) joined federal, state and local officials to unveil a series of new anti-meth TV ads and to announce the launch of a new anti-meth initiative.
"Today, we are releasing a series of federally-funded TV ads targeting the meth problem," Murray said. "I hope this is the start of a new federal commitment to fighting meth - one that will finally match what our local communities have been doing for so many years."
The ads mark the first time the White House has dedicated part of its national media campaign to meth ads. An initiative also announced today, the Methamphetamine Demand Reduction Program, is an effort by the Partnership for a Drug Free America. The announcement was held at the Seattle Drug & Narcotic Center.
In the U.S. Senate, Senator Murray has pushed the federal government to devote more resources to fighting meth, which is the fastest-growing drug problem in the country. This year, Murray succeeded in helping to block an attempt by the Bush Administration to cut funding for High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas by 56 percent. Over the past five years, Murray helped secure $15 million for the Washington State Meth Initiative.
Senator Murray oversees the budget of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and she has worked for years to raise the profile of methamphetamine within the War on Drugs
Senator Murray's remarks as prepared follow:
Announcing a New Step
Today, as federal, state and local leaders, we are standing together to announce a new step in the fight against crystal meth. For years, communities throughout our state have been working to close meth labs, to prosecute criminals and help with recovery, but they are facing a very tough enemy. Meth is the fastest growing drug problem in the country, and here in Washington, meth has torn apart families, neighborhoods, and lives.
While local and state leaders have been working hard to stop meth for many years, the federal government too often has been an unsteady partner. For years, Rick Larsen, Brian Baird and I have been working to get the federal government to focus on the meth crisis, and today, we're announcing results of that effort.
Releasing Ads Today
Today, we are releasing a series of federally-funded TV ads targeting the meth problem. I hope this is the start of a new federal commitment to fighting meth - one that will finally match what our local communities have been doing for so many years.
Launching the Demand Reduction Program
Today we are also launching the Methamphetamine Demand Reduction Program, a new effort by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. This federally-funded program will help bring hard-hitting ads to our communities and will enhance local and state efforts.
We Need a Comprehensive Approach
To fight meth, we need a comprehensive approach that includes enforcing the law, limiting access to ingredients, treating meth users, and reducing demand. These new ads are designed to reduce the demand for meth, by raising awareness about how it impacts the whole community.
I want to thank everyone who has made this possible - starting with Congressman Larsen. Rick is a Co-chair of the House Meth Caucus, and he is a champion on meth issues in the House. I would also like to thank Bob Denniston with ONDCP and Michael Townsend with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America for being here and for working to make these ads, and this program, a reality. I want to thank Nan Busby for hosting us today, and for the Center's fine work. And I want to thank Cindy Burg, who we'll hear from shortly. Cindy, your courage in sharing your own story with us today will help put a human face on this crisis, and I thank you for your leadership and your courage.
Washington State is a National Model on Fighting Meth
In this room, we have leaders from across the state, and I see a lot of familiar faces. They come from different backgrounds -- law enforcement, advocacy, treatment and more - but they share a commitment to stopping meth. I want you to know something. Through your hard work, you have created one of the most experienced and most effective anti-meth networks in the country. You have built a national model that other states turn to for advice. And I know, that at times, your job can be frustrating: I know what you’re up against, and I know you could do a lot more if the federal government was a fuller partner.
Making the Federal Government a Full Partner
Earlier this year, the President’s budget included a 56 percent cut in funding for High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas. Here in the Northwest, we rely on that funding to help local law enforcement, and we know a 56 percent cut would just make our work harder. I fought those cuts in the Senate and used my position as the top-ranking Democrat on the committee that funds the Office of National Drug Control Policy, to keep HDTA funding at a reasonable level.
I know that Washington state is working hard, and that's why over the past five years I've helped secure $15 million for the Washington State Meth Initiative.
In addition, I've told our Drug Czar John Walters that ONDCP needs to do more to help communities fight meth and that’s why I’m so glad that his office is represented here today.
And so I'm proud that today we announcing a major first step. For the first time, the White House has dedicated part of its national media campaign to meth ads. And for the first time, the Drug Czar's office is taking a major step forward with a demand reduction campaign. But there is so much more to do. As we shut down drug labs at home, we have to make sure that international drug cartels don't step in to fill the vacuum.
In closing, Mr. Denniston, I want to again thank you for being here. I hope that as you head back to Washington, D.C. you take a message from Washington state with you: This is a great first step, but we have a long way to go. And we need a sustained commitment from your office and other federal agencies to help community leaders like those in the room here today.
I would like to thank you all for joining us and for your hard work. Today is a great step forward. Let's make sure it's the first of many steps.