Methamphetamine Battle, Czar Says
JoinTogether.org, July 25, 2006
Citing state laws to
control precursor chemicals used to make
methamphetamine, U.S. drug czar John Walters claimed
a measure of success in controlling use of the drug,
Oregonian reported July 21.
"I would say we're
winning, but we're not done," said Walters, director
of the Office of National Drug Control Policy,
during a meeting in Portland, Ore. "Nobody's taking
a victory lap."
Walters said that
controlling the substances that are used to make
meth -- ephedrine and pseudoephedrine -- is the key
to limiting availability of the drug. "When you can
effectively control the precursor, you prevent the
production of meth, you save lives," Walters said.
"This state has proved that; Oklahoma's proved that.
Other states have used controls to prove that. We're
taking that nationally; we're taking that globally."
Walters said state
laws limiting over-the-counter sales of drugs
containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine addressed
the 20 percent of meth supply coming from small,
local labs, while international efforts are underway
to attack the supply lines for meth "superlabs" --
mostly in Mexico -- that now supply 80 percent or
more of the drug found in the U.S. Walters said that
the purity of Mexican methamphetamine may be
declining, possibly because of efforts by the
Mexican government to curb imports of
The United Nations
Commission on Narcotic Drugs also is calling for
countries to supply more information on their
imports and exports of meth precursor chemicals.
Experts say that a few factories in Germany, India
and China produce most of the world's supply of
ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, and Walters said that
China and India recognize the problem.
"The Chinese are
worried about the effect on their society," Walters
said. "You've got horrible situations in Thailand
and other parts of Asia. So these countries have not
only a desire to stop the criminal activity, but
they have a domestic nightmare that they're facing,
in some cases, if they do not work together."
criticism, Walters insisted that marijuana, not meth,
is the nation's biggest drug problem.
"Was meth an epidemic
in some parts of the country? Is it maybe today, in
the way it's growing? Yes," he said. "But is it the
only drug problem? Is it the worst drug problem? Is
it an epidemic everywhere? The answer is no."
"People don't want to
hear about [the marijuana] epidemic," Walters added.
"They don't want to hear that BC Bud and
high-potency marijuana are coming into our country.
We've got more kids dependent on marijuana than all
other illegal drugs combined. There is a kind of
blind spot here that I think has to be confronted:
'Marijuana is OK. It's all the other hard drugs that
are bad.' That's silly."