Methamphetamine is the worst drug to ever appear in America, and officials need to work to eradicate the "poor man's cocaine," said Barry McCaffrey, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
McCaffrey and Sen. Orrin Hatch met with Utah law enforcement officials in Salt Lake City Monday to announce the state has received a $600,000 grant to fight methamphetamine.The money is part of $1.5 million slated for the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force. McCaffrey said the states - Utah, Wyoming and Colorado - will decide how to best use the money individually.
Utah's money will be split: $442,00 to the Utah Department of Public Safety for its clandestine lab unit and $144,000 to the Salt Lake City Metro Task Force to create a proactive methamphetamine response group.
McCaffrey, a member of Clinton's Cabinet, serves as the senior drug policy official in the executive branch of the federal government. He said the money will help address the growing and dangerous meth problem.
A person on methamphetamine can be awake from five to 15 days at a time, McCaffrey said. The drug, which is "ferociously addictive," makes users aggressive and the labs where the drug is cooked are a threat to the environment. McCaffrey said one in six meth labs blow up or burn each year.
Utah is one of the top five states in the number of methamphetamine labs seized by law enforcement, Hatch said. In 1995, 30 labs were seized. In 1997, the number had increased to 130.
According to the Division of Substance Abuse, 6,499 Utahns are in need of treatment for methamphetamine addiction.
While cocaine is still the most-used illicit drug in the country, its use is declining while meth production and use is rising.