WASHINGTON — A bipartisan bill targeting meth breezed through the U-S Senate Monday night that was co-sponsored by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley and California Democrat Dianne Feinstein.
Grassley, a Republican, says the bill aims to bring better help to addicts and greater punishment for dealers. “The bill designates meth as an emerging threat,” Grassley says, “and directs the Office of National Drug Control Policy to develop a nationwide plan to address the rising use of meth.”
Grassley says the legislation, called the Methamphetamine Response Act, aims to fight addiction in rural communities and beef up the government’s ability to fight the drug. “This bill unanimously passed the Senate last night,” Grassley says. “It’s now up to the House to act so that we can get this bill on the books and prevent more devastation in our communities caused by that poison.”
Opioids and fentanyl are getting a lot of national attention, according to Grassley, because those highly addictive substances are “flooding across the Southern border” and they keep evolving to stay ahead of law enforcement. While opioids are a big worry, he says meth is also a primary concern. “This drug is not new, however drug traffickers are finding new and harmful ways to increase methamphetamine’s potency and distribution,” Grassley says, “and obviously, this is spiking overdose rates.”
A state report found the number of overdose deaths in Iowa in 2020 from opioids, like fentanyl, and stimulants such as meth, hit a record high of 369. That death rate is up almost 18-percent from the previous year.