(Phoenix, Ariz. - Aug. 28, 2006) Attorney General Terry Goddard today applauded a federal report showing a decline in methamphetamine use and meth labs in Arizona, though he cautioned that more work needs to be done to bring the epidemic under control.
Goddard said ordinances adopted by more than 40 cities and towns in Arizona are making a positive difference. But he said the lack of a state law to restrict the sale of over-the-counter drugs that can be cooked into meth amounts to a glaring hole in Arizona's effort to combat meth.
"Arizona needs a comprehensive statute which we have sought in the past two legislative sessions," Goddard said. "The law would limit the sale of pseudophedrine, toughen border enforcement, expand treatment and increase educational efforts to keep our children from using meth. In the absence of such a law, more than three dozen cities have acted on their own to keep meth out of their communities. But we now have a patchwork of ordinances across the state, leaving many areas vulnerable."
Goddard credited the coordinated efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement for the improving meth statistics. As a recent example, he cited the 417-count indictment his office brought last week against 69 defendants in one of the largest drug busts in the state's history. The indictment followed a three-month investigation by Phoenix police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration that broke up a drug organization based in Mexico.
Goddard's comments were made in response to data released today by John Walters, director of National Drug Control Policy, showing a 16 percent drop statewide in the number of people testing positive for amphetamines, including methamphetamine, from 2005 through May of 2006. Walters also reported a 41 percent decline in meth lab incidents in Arizona between 2004 and 2005.