By Beth Pollak
Art option: Photo of Gov. Perdue
ATHENS, Ga. – Gov. Sonny Perdue has recommended more than $2 million in his state budget to help combat the growing methamphetamine crisis.
The money will be spent on creating a 15-agent meth taskforce within the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and to help employ the Matrix model to provide treatment for meth-addicted parents, Perdue said Tuesday in a speech at the University of Georgia.
“Meth is deadly to make and deadly to take,” said Perdue. “It is a threat to families and a corrosive influence eating away at our communities.”
Perdue spoke about the growing concern of the effects of methamphetamine use on children in the state. Over half of all GBI meth busts involve either the removal of children present at the time, or a referral to DFACS.
Perdue said his administration has taken many steps to combat this problem, most notably the 2004 Child Protection Package, which makes it a felony to manufacture meth in the presence of children. A 2004 statewide summit also convened to seek solutions to the methamphetamine crisis.
Perdue cited the 490 arrests and over $300,000 worth of methamphetamine seized by the Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad in conjunction with the GBI as an example of the current successes of state taskforces. He also noted that over 100 drug taskforce members have been trained in meth lab safety and clean-up within the state.
“We've built a strong coalition to contain, slow down and ultimately end the meth plague that threatens our state,” said Perdue.
Alexandra Laing, a magazines and fashion merchandising major from Watkinsville, was concerned by the total cost of the proposal during the current economic crisis.
“It’s a worthy goal, but I’m not sure if it is the best time to be attacking it,” Laing said. “With a lot of people struggling financially, though, more people may turn to drugs.”