AG expands war on meth

State’s ‘No. 1 crime’ targeted for aggressive prosecution by Goddard

KINGMAN - On the eve of National Methamphetamine Awareness Day, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said his office will increase its efforts in the fight against methamphetamine.

The Arizona office will commit more resources to prosecute offenders and raise public awareness to prevent methamphetamine use.

"Meth remains the No. 1 crime problem in our state," Goddard said in a news release. "My office will aggressively prosecute people who use, smuggle or cook meth."

He added the Attorney General's Office will work with other agencies and the 23 anti- methamphetamine coalitions across Arizona to promote prevention. The office has added six positions over this year devoted to methamphetamine investigation and prosecution.

"We know that a large amount of meth is coming into Arizona from Mexico, and we have placed more emphasis on drug-smuggling," Goddard said. "But as long as meth labs continue to menace our neighborhoods, we will continue to shut them down."

Goddard said methamphetamine cooking continues to be a problem, and he plans to again seek legislative approval of a law placing cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in making methamphetamine, behind pharmacy counters. He also wants the law to require buyers to show identification and sign a log.

Goddard has encouraged cities and towns across the state to pass similar ordinances.

A total of 46 cities and towns, including Kingman, Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City, have approved them.

President George W. Bush designated today, Nov. 30, National Methamphetamine Awareness Day to mark the start of a nationwide campaign led by the U.S. Department of Justice to reduce methamphetamine use. The day was also designed to bring to light the dangers of methamphetamine and reaffirm the country's collective responsibility to combat all forms of drug abuse.

Bush has set specific goals of a 15-percent decrease in methamphetamine use and 25-percent reduction in domestic methamphetamine labs over the next three years.

In his 2007 proposed budget, $25 million would be used to provide access to effective methamphetamine abuse recovery services and programs. He also signed into law the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005, which makes manufacturing the drug more difficult and imposes tougher penalties on those who smuggle or sell it.