Methamphetamine is one of the fastest growing illicit narcotics in America. Unlike many other synthetic drugs, methamphetamine is produced inexpensively using ordinary household chemicals and then sold at a sizeable profit on the street. This production process can cause fires, explosions, and the release of toxic waste by-product into the atmosphere of our environment. Many communities, unknowingly harbor covert laboratories that are producing this illegal drug in garages and basements in residential neighborhoods. This drug has devastating affects on its users: families are destroyed, lives are lost, and children are neglected or abused.
The COPS Office, along with our partners at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the National Crime Prevention Council hosted the Midwestern Governors' Conference Summit on Methamphetamine in September 2002 to bring together the resources of thirteen states to combat the production and proliferation of methamphetamine. The Summit emphasized the principles of community policing by engaging varied community interests to solve a common problem. It brought together not only representatives of federal, state, and local law enforcement, but also community leaders, service and faith-based organizations, public health and social service agencies, the education community, members of the judiciary and government executives, and even representatives of America's youth. The ideas exchanged helped develop a complete picture not only of the problem, but also of the solution, and how to get there.
When a problem affects so many aspects of the quality of life in a community, it often takes a collective effort from the community to fully address it. The methamphetamine epidemic in our country is the very definition of a community problem, and we at the COPS Office have made combating it one of our top priorities. We have dedicated more than $200 million since 1998 through COPS' Methamphetamine Initiative to help communities develop community policing strategies to combat methamphetamine, train officers, develop programs to aid drug-endangered children, and assist in the clean up of hazardous chemicals and by-products of methamphetamine production.