State Officials Hold Methamphetamine Policy Summit

For Immediate Release: January 27, 2005

Contact: Capt. Tom L’Esperance, Department of Public Safety
Linda Dorey, Department of Health, 863-7281

MONTPELIER—Governor Jim Douglas, Public Safety Commissioner Kerry Sleeper, Health Commissioner Dr. Paul Jarris, and representatives of Vermont’s congressional delegates will join national experts to host a Vermont Summit on Methamphetamine.

The purpose of the 2-day Summit is to raise awareness and bring together leaders of agencies, organizations and businesses that would be most affected by Methamphetamine use and production. Over 100 people representing law enforcement, environmental and hazardous waste cleanup, first responders, health and substance abuse, courts, housing, social services, education, and transportation are expected to attend.

National experts Assistant US Attorney Laura Birkmeyer of San Diego and University of Oklahoma Professor Dr. Penny Grant will present the national perspective on how this drug impacts health, social services, and the environment once its production and use becomes established in a state or region.

Methamphetamine is highly addictive and is easily made from common ingredients in makeshift laboratories (set up in rented apartments, hotel/motel rooms, storage facilities, isolated camps, barns, parked vehicles, etc.). Vermont’s rural nature provides many potential locations where “meth” labs could be established.

Monies earmarked by Senator Leahy to provide Vermonters with the tools necessary to combat methamphetamine production and abuse will fund the Summit. Senator Leahy stated, “ We have seen a rapid increase in the numbers of Vermonters who use addictive drugs and corresponding rises in drug smugglers and dealers, in crime and arrests, and in deaths and in addicts needing treatment. These all have strained our state and local agencies’ abilities to effectively handle the situation.”

Agenda Overview: