Senator Tom Harkin says the state has made great progress in the fight against methamphetamine, but still has a long way to go.
The Democrat says Iowa, and other states, have found ways to cut meth production, but should do more to keep people from trying the drug in the first place.
Harkin is calling for more federal funding for meth treatment and prevention measures. He claims 22 million Americans are in need of treatment for substance addiction, but less than three million are able to get help.
Harkin singles out several counties in central Iowa that have developed successful meth treatment programs. "What we need to do is take what they’ve done in these counties and adopt it statewide and nationwide," Harkin says.
Harkin says authorities and lawmakers need to keep working to eliminate methamphetamine entirely. "This is one war we can’t afford to lose," Harkin says, "this is eating up our society, creating a huge drain on our tax dollars, and filling up beds in our jails that are needed for hardened criminals."
Harkin made his comments Friday outside the state capitol building in Des Moines, where officials announced a new milestone in the fight against meth in Iowa: 24,000 locks have now been installed on anhydrous ammonia tanks in all 99 Iowa counties.
The locks were paid for with more than one million dollars in federal grants that Harkin helped secure. The locks help prevent the theft of the chemical, which is a key ingredient in the production of methamphetamine.