News Release

SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB

DATE: July 14, 2003

CONTACT STEVE SCHMIDT AT 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108

 

EAST COUNTY UNITES AGAINST METHAMPHETAMINE

EL CAJON - Despite shedding its dubious distinction as the "Methamphetamine Capitol of the World," East County continues to grapple with many meth-related community problems. A recent report issued by the San Diego Association of Governments(SANDAG), revealed that adults who use meth tend to live in the Central and East suburban areas of San Diego County, while juvenile users live in the North County Inland and East suburban areas.

Organizations from six East County jurisdictions announced today that they are ready to do battle against methamphetamine. The newly formed, federally funded East County Coalition for Methamphetamine Solutions will operate under the auspices of the San Diego County Methamphetamine Strike Force. The group is looking at current policies and programs in Lemon Grove, Lakeside, Santee, El Cajon, La Mesa, and Spring Valley and prioritizing each of those community's goals.

"The use of multiple strategies will decrease the availability of meth, increase treatment accessibility, enhance law enforcement efforts, and raise public awareness throughout East County," said Dianne Jacob, Second District Supervisor.

Although strong alcohol and drug prevention collaboratives exist throughout the region, none focus specifically on methamphetamine issues. The coalition will include solutions to methamphetamine-related problems into the work that is already being done on alcohol and other drug related problems

East County law enforcement agencies will be taking the first community-united step with a campaign focused on reducing the availability of chemicals needed for clandestine labs to produce methamphetamine.

Most of the ingredients and equipment needed to produce methamphetamine are legal to possess, have legitimate uses, are not regulated, and are easily obtained at retail stores such as hardware, grocery, drug, convenience, and paint stores, as well as pet and animal feed supply stores.

Increasing public and merchant awareness of the possibility of illegitimate use of these items is the objective of the East County law enforcement effort. A massive retail awareness campaign aimed at store employees and managers to inform them about existing laws that limit the sale of some products is now underway.

"The recognition by merchants of chemicals, solvents, and apparatus used in the production of methamphetamine is the first step in curbing availability of meth, " said Glen Ravel, Captain, Santee Sheriff's Station.

Over the next few months, law enforcement officers in East County will visit retail outlets and pharmacies, educating owners, managers, and employees and distributing brochures with names and photos of some of the most commonly purchased chemicals and items used to make meth. They will also instruct people to call the meth hotline (877) NO2-METH if they encounter suspicious activity or purchases.

"We want those involved in clandestine manufacturing of meth to be aware that East County is going to become a difficult place in which to buy and manufacture meth," said Jacob. "East County is seriously going after methamphetamine, its manufacturers, and its users. We are pledged to halt the spread of this sinister drug from our communities."

The Methamphetamine Strike Force (Strike Force) was initiated in 1996 by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, at the request of Supervisor Dianne Jacob. The 70-member Strike Force includes local, state, and federal representatives from public health, law enforcement, judiciary, education, treatment, prevention, and intervention agencies. The Strike Force maintains a toll-free meth hotline, (877) NO 2 METH and web site (http://www.no2meth.org/) for anonymous reporting of illegal drug activity or referral to a treatment program