Iowa Senator Tom Harkin is introducing legislation he says provides a comprehensive plan for dealing with the meth problem in the United States. Harkin, a Democrat, says the bill looks to shut off the demand for the drug.
Harkin says the plan is focused on prevention, early intervention and treatment to reduce the number of people who get hooked on meth. Harkin says there are still efforts going on nationally to try and prevent the flow of meth into the U.S., but this bill focuses on what law officers tell him is needed. Harkin says the bill would invest in programs that have show results, like one in Polk County.
Harkin says the program shows if you take meth addicts and give them treatment over a longer period of time, the recidivism rate is very low. Harkin says the problem now is that meth users spend a little time and in jail and then are released. Harkin says his bill would remove barriers to treatment and expand access to family- and jail-based treatment programs, specifically in underserved areas. The bill would also provide alternatives to jail or detention for non-violent juveniles and adults and provide transitional services for addicts trying to start a new life.
Harkin says he’s learned some things in studying the meth problem over the years. Harkin says, “More and more it’s alarming how many young people try it, they don’t realize how addictive it is. And secondly, how many meth addicts, people that get on meth, really want to get off of it.”
Harkin says the people who really want to get off of meth, can’t help themselves, and that’s what the bill is aimed at. Harkin plans to hold two roundtable discussions of the bill with law officers at stops in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids.