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This is Part 1 in a 3 part series being blogged by Terry Goddard; Arizona's Attorney General.  

Terry, if you don't know, was long-time Phoenix mayor when Democrats couldn't get elected to dog catcher. He is an unabashed, fighting Democrat who took down the famous "Phoenix 40" by bringing a district system to the Phoenix city council which elected 3 Latinos and 1 African-American that year.

He became Arizona's HUD Director in the Clinton years and then got elected to Attorney General in 2002. Rumors are that he will succeed Governor Janet Napolitano in 2010.

http://terrygoddard.org/...

Many crimes can be directly linked to meth. While most of the meth that is sold in our state comes from Mexico, a significant portion is made in make-shift labs in our very own neighborhoods, in various communities throughout the state. In 2004, there were 134 meth-lab related seizures in Arizona. Lab accidents and explosions are common. Children, neighbors, and first responders are often exposed to the chemicals used to produce the drug, which include ether, acetone, red phosphorous, battery acid, and drain cleaner.

Meth in Arizona
Monday, July 31. 2006

The abuse, production, and trafficking of methamphetamine, or meth, constitute the biggest law enforcement crisis facing Arizona. According to a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Counties, this addictive drug, also referred to as speed, ice, and crank, poses the biggest drug problem in the United States.

Many crimes can be directly linked to meth. While most of the meth that is sold in our state comes from Mexico, a significant portion is made in make-shift labs in our very own neighborhoods, in various communities throughout the state. In 2004, there were 134 meth-lab related seizures in Arizona. Lab accidents and explosions are common. Children, neighbors, and first responders are often exposed to the chemicals used to produce the drug, which include ether, acetone, red phosphorous, battery acid, and drain cleaner. The toxic waste created by meth production poses huge environmental and health risks to Arizona communities, creating 5-7 pounds of waste for every 1 pound of meth produced.

Additionally, many meth users resort to theft and other crimes in order to support their addiction. In Arizona, 40-50% of total arrests from 2000 to 2005 were meth-related. 70% of reporting counties saw an increase in robberies/burglaries due to meth use, and 62% reported increases in domestic violence.

Identity theft is another crime that meth users resort to. A recent New York Times article, found here, discusses why meth and identity theft seem to go hand-in-hand:

"Methamphetamine... can be manufactured in small laboratories that move about suburban or rural areas, where addicts are more likely to steal mail from unlocked boxes. Small manufacturers, in turn, use stolen identities to buy ingredients or pay rent without arousing suspicion. And because the drug has a long high, addicts have patience and energy for crimes that take several steps to pay off."

Meth, which can be smoked, injected, snorted, or eaten, can cause strokes, respiratory problems, extreme anorexia, insomnia, convulsions, premature labor, and hyperthermia. Because of the numerous health risks associated with its use, meth is placing an extreme strain on our hospitals and emergency rooms:

"While most Valley hospitals don't track the number of cases or the costs associated with them, [Medical director of the emergency department at John C. Lincoln Hospital-Deer Valley Dr. Clark York] says a majority of the meth-related cases at the hospital involve patients who are uninsured.

That assessment is backed by a 2005 survey of emergency rooms by the National Association of Counties. More than 80 percent of hospitals nationwide report most patients admitted with meth-related emergencies are uninsured or underinsured."


Over the next few days, this blog will be examining the steps that Attorney General Goddard has taken to fight the meth crisis in Arizona, including:

- Establishing a Border Trafficking Team to catch coyotes smuggling in meth from Mexico;

- helping cities to establish ordinances that would restrict sales of pseudoephedrine;

- sponsoring community outreach events that educate Arizona families about the dangers, warning signs, and facts about meth, and,

- championing legislation that restricted the sale of meth ingredients, and imposed harsher penalties on meth cooks who endanger children.

Originally posted to Dour on Fri Aug 04, 2006 at 04:21 PM PDT.

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