Politicians likely fill you with anxiety these days. But rest assured, the gridlock only extends so far. This week in the US Senate both parties teamed up to just say no to crank (aka, methamphetamine).
The opioid crisis — which has garnered more attention since its deadly grip extended to suburbs, country clubs, and the like — has dominated what little bit of attention politicians are willing to give to substance abuse. But even as opioid overdoses skyrocketed, the rate of methamphetamine use has also been steadily and stealthily rising.
That’s why Senate passage this week of the Methamphetamine Response Act — which seeks to prevent meth addiction and overdoses from becoming a crisis on par with the opioid epidemic and the 128 lives it claims daily — is viewed as such a huge, if ultimately small, win for proponents.
“Methamphetamine addiction is a serious drug threat that is increasing in severity across America, especially in our rural communities,” Rep. TJ Cox (D-Calif.), the lead sponsor of the measure in the House, released in a statement.
Senate passage comes a month after federal law enforcement seized 2,200 pounds of methamphetamine — the largest bust of its kind on US soil in the DEA’s history — in Perris, California, which is just east of Los Angeles.
“That’s a significant amount of meth,” the DEA’s acting administrator Timothy Shea told reporters at a press conference at the time.
It’s most often called ‘crank’ or ‘crystal (meth)’ on the streets due to its ability to be manufactured from common household chemicals. Methamphetamines have been a growing problem for decades now. Their recent rise in popularity was dramatized in the award-winning television show Breaking Bad. But that Hollywood treatment seems to have bumped it off the radar of many public officials — or it just still hasn’t hit their country clubs yet.
“In some areas of the country, [meth] poses an even greater threat than opioids, and it is the drug that most contributes to violent crime,” the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports.
That’s why proponents are cheering even this small step taken by the Senate.
The Methamphetamine Response Act would declare methamphetamines an emerging drug threat and require the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to develop, implement, and make public a national plan to combat the scourge of crank.
“Meth is one of the most common drugs in the Central Valley, and meth-related overdose deaths are on track to eclipse deaths due to opioids,” Rep. Cox said. “I urge my colleagues in the House to act swiftly to pass this critical legislation so we can get to work fighting this crisis and helping the families that have been decimated by this deadly drug.”