Feds Crank Up Meth Fight

Judge Seth Norman, left, founder of the Drug Court, leads a tour of the facility with "Drug Czar" John Walters, right, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, middle right, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt, middle left, as the federal officals visit the Davidson County Drug Court in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday, Aug. 18, 2005.
Top officials from the Bush administration announced new efforts to battle methamphetamine abuse, including a training laboratory for police agencies and $16.2 million in grants to focus on treatment of addicts.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt and drug czar John Walters made the announcement Thursday at the Davidson County Drug Court and Treatment Center, the only drug court in the nation with a treatment and residential facility attached.

"This war has to be strategically fought," Leavitt said. "It's about prevention, it's about treatment and strong enforcement."

Meth, an addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system, is usually produced in clandestine labs with over-the-counter cold tablets and common household chemicals.

The administration had been criticized as favoring drug abuse prevention over more law enforcement in battling meth. But Walters said the president's $12.4 billion drug control budget is being used "in a balanced way."

"We have to have the treatment and prevention, in addition to security resources," he said.

Bush plans to grant higher priority to the prosecution of meth cooks and repeat offenders. The Justice Department will also establish a forensic science training laboratory to educate federal, state and local law enforcement officers and chemists in the production of meth so that they are better equipped to investigate meth cases.