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Fighting Meth Use – A Coordinated Effort

Enzi to chair a special Senate Health Committee hearing in Casper Thursday

March 17, 2006

Washington, D.C. – Wyoming is often thought by its residents to be somewhat of a refuge from the world and its problems. Fewer people, less stress, fewer worries, right? Not when it comes to the nation’s number one drug problem - methamphetamine.

Meth is sending a shockwave that is breaking bodies, hearts and minds everywhere, especially in rural America. Wyoming, unfortunately, is at the epicenter. State and the federal government are mobilizing their resources to fight this plague, especially the crime surge associated with meth. U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, Chairman of the Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee is seeking expert advice on additional ways to attack the problem.

Enzi has planned a special Senate hearing Thursday, March 23 at 1:30 p.m. in the Casper Holiday Inn. Enzi has arranged a gathering of top experts from the medical, law enforcement and public relations fields as well as representatives from government and the private sector who are close to the meth problem. He hopes to learn more about what is being done now and how the federal government can best help in the future.

“My committee will soon be considering legislation to continue the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration. I want to increase the accountability measures and efficiency of its programs to ensure funding is effectively being used to prevent and treat substance abuse, especially meth use. To do that, we need assistance and direction from people who are already working on these problems. I want to better understand what the people of Wyoming are doing about meth and how efforts at the federal level can best be coordinated with local initiatives,” Enzi said. “Ultimately the people of Wyoming, Montana and the other states who are affected by this problem, the people who battle this in their communities every day will come up with the best solutions to beat meth.”

Enzi will lead and listen to Thursday’s discussion of more than a dozen people who have different expertise in dealing with the meth issue. His goal is to take information back to Washington he can use to shape federal anti-meth efforts so they work and fit with what states and communities are doing. Congress recently passed the Meth Combat Act. Its focus is largely on the law enforcement side. Enzi wants to also add focus to treatment and prevention of meth use with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) legislation.

“To effectively fight meth use, coordination must happen not only between different levels of government, but between different states, communities and professions. That’s what this hearing is about,” Enzi said.

Discussion will be limited to panelists, but the public is welcome to attend. People with questions, concerns or ideas may write directly to Enzi. Enzi.senate.gov, fax 202-228-5693 or U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, United States Senate, Washington, DC 20510.

Panelists expected to participate include:

Nancy Freudenthal, First Lady of Wyoming, Cheyenne
H. Westley Clark, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., CAS, FASAM, Director, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, SAMHSA, Rockville, Md.
Anna Maki, Meth Initiative Coordinator, Wyoming Substance Abuse Division, Cheyenne
Bill Sniffin, CEO, Wyoming Incorporated, Lander
Doug Noseep, Chief of Police, Wind River Reservation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Fort Washakie
Dr. Grant Christensen DDS, Rock Springs
Richard A. Rawson, Ph. D, Executive Director of the Matrix Center and Matrix Institute on Addiction/ Deputy Director UCLA Addiction Medicine Services. LA, Calif.
Rod K. Robinson, Executive Director of WYSTAR, Sheridan
Sgt. Steve Hamilton, Campbell County Sheriff’s Department, Gillette
Tom Pagel, Chief of Police, Casper
Dr. Robert J. Fagnant, MD, FACOG, FACS, Rock Springs
Jim DeLozier, District Manager for Natrona and Carbon County DFS, Casper
Sherri Martin, Director/CEO, Family Wholeness, Casper
Marjean Searcy, Salt Lake City Police Department, COPS Methamphetamine Initiative, Salt Lake City, Utah