Northwest Iowa is hosting an annual conference of the International Association of Law Enforcement Planners (IALEP) this week. The topics include immigration, identity theft and new technologies. The acting deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy provided planners with an update on drug use in America.
David Murtaugh says there are 19.9 million people who use and abuse drugs in the U.S. and only 1.3 million sought treatment last year. He encouraged officers to "prevent, treat and disrupt" their local drug market.
"We believe this three-prong effort is the universal guide for all communities in their struggle against drugs and drug abuse," Murtaugh said. Federal drug agents are noticing an increase in the trafficking of marijuana. Murtaugh calls it a "serious situation" – noting that the marijuana manufactured today is much more potent than it was 20 to 30 years ago.
"Last year, we took over 6.2 million marijuana plants in the United States off the street. We expect those numbers to be up again this year," Murtaugh said. The IALEP Training Conference runs through Friday at the Clarion Hotel in Sioux City.