(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that she has provided $450,000 for the Washington State Methamphetamine Initiative. The Washington State Methamphetamine Initiative (WSMI) is used by law enforcement, treatment and prevention groups to fight methamphetamine throughout Washington state. The WSMI funds activities in every county in Washington state. Senator Murray included the funding in the 2008 Senate Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Appropriations bill. Senator Murray is a member of the Appropriations Committee.
"While we have had some success in combating the many meth challenges our state faces, there is still significant work to be done," said Senator Murray. "I am proud to continue to support the Washington State Meth Initiative, which is leading the aggressive effort to address meth problems in our communities."
"This funding supports a comprehensive approach to meth education, prevention, enforcement and treatment that includes everyone from law enforcement, to government, to health workers. It will help our state stay vigilant at a time when our meth problem is increasingly intertwined with border security, foreign cartels, and gangs."
The WSMI was organized in 1999 as a proactive approach by a coalition of concerned, public and private groups that work in conjunction with federal, state and local agencies. The program includes the following components: intelligence, enforcement and prosecution, investigation and forensics, public health and ecology, professional training, community education and prevention, and family treatment services.
Specific WSMI program efforts include lab investigations, improved intelligence and forensic support, a treatment program that works with families, a program to assist drug endangered children, assistance to public health and environmental agencies, and the mobilization of Meth Action Teams in every Washington state county to execute local education and prevention efforts.
Terree Schmidt-Whelan, Executive Director of the Pierce County Alliance which plays a lead role in the WSMI praised Senator Murray for he work to support the WSMI:
"We are thrilled that The Washington State Methamphetamine Initiative has been recommended for funding in 2008. This comprehensive program with its interdisciplinary structure has had a major effect on the reduction of meth labs as well as treatment admissions in Washington State. We are very thankful to Senator Murray and her staff for all their work with this effort."
This funding Senator Murray has included in the CJS bill will be crucial in addressing new threats, including growing meth trafficking from Canada and a dramatic increase in crystal meth through Mexican cartels. WSMI will also be working to address a surge of illegal gang activity associated with local meth trafficking particularly in the areas of Yakima, Spokane, and the Tri-Cities as well as all counties along the I-5 corridor.
Senator Murray has secured $15 million for the WSMI since 2001. In the CJS bill, Senator Murray also provided $800,000 for work to build a National Methamphetamine Training and Technical Assistance Center (NMTTAC) in Pierce County (read more HERE).
More information on Senator Murray's work to fight meth in Washington state visit.
The CJS Appropriations bill today passed the Senate Appropriations Committee and will now go to the full Senate for consideration.