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Latest news: 09-16-2010

Report shows illegal drug use up sharply last year

Washington, D.C. - The rate of illegal drug use rose last year to the highest level in nearly a decade, fueled by a sharp increase in marijuana use and a surge in ecstasy and methamphetamine abuse, the government reported Wednesday. Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, called the 9 percent increase in drug use disappointing but said he was not surprised given "eroding attitudes" about the perception of harm from illegal drugs and the growing number of states approving medicinal marijuana.

Full story, Associated Press

N.C. to monitor cold medicine purchases

NC - In the last five years, the number of meth lab incidents in North Carolina has dropped by a third and holding steady now at around 200 incidents a year. Attorney General Roy Cooper credits new laws that limit the sale of certain cold medicines that contain the key ingredient for making meth. WFAE's Julie Rose reports the attorney general is now working to close a loophole in that law. There's a crack down on Smurfs coming. That's what law enforcement officers call the enterprising new crop of meth-cookers who game the system to buy more than the two-package-a-day limit of cold medicine that contains pseudoephedrine.

Full story, WFAE Radio

Ill. county authorities concerned about meth crime uptick

Hillsboro, IL - The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office is kicking off an anti-methamphetamine campaign as deputies have seen crime related to the stimulant go up about 20 percent in recent months. The sheriff’s office is working with the Montgomery County Drug Prevention Coalition to create a public awareness campaign that will include ads appearing in businesses and news publications. Undersheriff Rick Robbins said the campaign will encourage people to tell police about suspected drug use. “What the coalition is trying to drive home is that a lot of people are aware of things but they just don’t report it,” he said. “Later on, we hear citizens say, ‘This is going on and this is going on, and everyone knows it,’ when everyone doesn’t always know it.”

Full story, The State Journal-Register

Dependency on meth hard to shake

Clinton, TN - Wendy Guardino just finished her 16th stay in the Anderson County Jail. She turned 35 years old this year in stripes, on blood thinner and with a methamphetamine addiction she still wishes she could shake. She used meth 11 months ago. She prays that time will be the last. "I've never been clean this long, even when I was pregnant," she said. "When I first did meth, I felt like I could see colors I'd never seen. I don't know how much I did. I've been up so much and so long, to this day I don't know what was real and what wasn't."

Full story, Knoxville News Sentinel

Budget cuts hit Idaho's anti-meth efforts

Boise, ID - A survey that would have chronicled more than 15,000 Idaho teens’ experiences with drugs and alcohol won’t happen next month, another victim of state budget cuts. The Idaho School Climate Survey has been conducted every other year since 1996. School districts, state agencies and nonprofits across the state use its data to win grants for various prevention programs. “It’s a huge blow,” said Matt McCarter, safe and drug-free schools coordinator for the Idaho State Department of Education. “We’ll lose the trend data. It’s going to be a huge impact, because we’ll have less data to be able to inform programs, policy and funding.” Idaho will also lose valuable context to other research.

Full story, Times-News

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