U. S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and U. S. Representative Zach Wamp (R-TN) today announced that the Justice Department has decided to provide $1.3 million to strengthen Tennessee law enforcement’s efforts to curtail the manufacture, use and distribution of methamphetamines across the state.
“These dollars are crucial to Tennessee’s fight against methamphetamines and the devastating impact the drug is having on our state’s communities,” Alexander said. “With Tennessee recently having the second highest number of meth lab seizures in the nation, our law enforcement officials are already making progress, but this $1.3 million grant will ensure that our state’s Meth Task Force will continue to have the resources they need to put an end to this crisis.”
“Methamphetamine is a killer and destroys families. Since its creation, the Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force wasted no time in focusing on this scourge and developed an effective model for rooting out meth ‘cooking’ labs,” said Congressman Zach Wamp. “With these federal funds, the Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force can continue its crucial work throughout the state to stem the tide of this drug.”
The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Methamphetamine Initiative for Fiscal Year 2007 will provide $43.6 million funding to 117 different state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies nationwide. Grants were available to help targeted jurisdictions across the nation combat the manufacture, use, and distribution of meth, as well as to collaborate with other entities in the prevention and treatment of meth abuse.
In 2004, Tennessee ranked second nationally among all states in the number of methamphetamine lab seizures, and local law enforcement officials across the country rank meth as our nation's number one drug problem. In addition to the damage the drug causes individuals and families, each pound of meth leaves behind five to six pounds of toxic waste, and the cost of a single lab cleanup ranges from $2,000 to $10,000.
Alexander said the East Tennessee Meth Task Force that Congressman Wamp helped establish to combat this problem was so successful that in 2005 the senator joined him to support expansion of the program to a statewide task force under the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
The Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force partners different law enforcement agencies, legislators, first responders, social workers, health professionals, the National Guard, community groups and environmental agencies to develop a response that can fight the problem on a community-wide basis. The Task Force supports programs in four main areas: law enforcement, training, intelligence and public awareness.
The funding announced today through the COPS Methamphetamine Initiative will ensure the continuation of support for all regions of the state to have the training and equipment they need to address this drug problem. Alexander and Wamp said today’s funding is the direct result of the efforts of all three of Tennessee’s U.S. Attorneys working together to address this problem, and their efforts show the coordination between all levels of government.