Friday, July 08, 2005

New Leadership Needed On Meth

It is with a great deal of irony that both of Paul's opponents - the current AG and his Republican opponent in the primary - have run around the state touting their records on meth and promising to combat the methamphetamine epidemic if elected AG in 2006.

Why is it ironic? Because both held the US Attorney's position that oversaw the western and northwestern part of the state as the methamphetamine epidemic took root and grew in that portion of the state, where it is concentrated.

That's right. They already had their chance to prove their leadership on this issue, but meth has continued to spiral out of control under both of their watches. Hardly something to be proud about. Six years ago, the current AG acknowledged meth was an "epidemic" in the press. It's a growing one today, unfortunately.

Paul will take real action to halt meth. He won't just hold summits. He will divert real resources to combat the problem, rather than wasting money on informational meetings.

The facts:

"According to state figures, meth cases reported in Wisconsin nearly quadrupled from 83 in 1999 to 314 in 2003, and involuntary placements for treatment for methamphetamine use reached 347 in 2003, up from 194 in 2001." (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).

"Meth samples sent for testing to the State Crime Laboratory grew from 101 in 2000 to 545 last year (2004)." (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).

Meth is still largely a problem in the northwest and western sections of the state over which both of Paul's opponents had jurisdiction as US Attorneys. "St. Croix County, bounding the Twin Cities, has over recent years led the state in all things meth. According to Justice Department figures, the county, with a population of some 71,000, submitted 300 cases to the State Crime Laboratory between 1998 and 2004. In Milwaukee County, with 933,000, that number was 39." (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Numbers tell the story. For a graphic, see: http://www.jsonline.com/news/state/mar05/307310.asp

In March 2005, Paul's Republican primary opponent told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he would make fighting the spread of methamphetamine a priority as AG.

One wonders why it took a campaign for AG to make meth a priority.