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Bipartisan Group Develops Anti-Meth Package

Representative Greg Machperson is a second term legislator representing Lake Oswego and SW Portland.


A bipartisan group of legislators working on the response to the meth epidemic unveiled its work this past week. I am one of the four members of the Judiciary Committees of the House and Senate who crafted legislation over the past month to deal with methamphetamine abuse. The group includes a Republican and a Democrat from each Committee.

Some 36 bills addressing various aspects of meth abuse were introduced in the 2005 session. The bipartisan group consolidated many of those ideas into a package, which will be amended into Senate Bill 907 and House Bill 2485.

These meth bills include all three of the main approaches to any drug abuse problem: prevention, interdiction, and treatment. But they also feature some strategies especially designed for meth.

The work group focused on the harmful impacts of meth use on children. We learned that Oregon has a major problem with small-time "meth labs" operated in rental houses and apartments. We also learned that meth use is disproportionately high among women of child-bearing age. As a result, kids are exposed to contaminants in the home where their mother, and her male friends, cook meth.

To better protect kids, the bills add exposure to meth as a specific basis for a criminal conviction of child neglect in the first degree and increase the range of sentence length for that crime when meth is involved. They add meth exposure, resulting in a child being drug affected, to the definition of child abuse that public and private officials are legally required to report. They authorize a domestic relations court to consider abuse of alcohol or controlled substances, including meth, in decisions on parenting time.

The criminal penalties for manufacturing meth and for selling large quantities of it are to be stiffened. Here too the bills focus on meth labs, which contaminate houses and apartments and those (including kids) who live there. Possession or disposal of meth waste would become a new crime.

In a change that will probably meet resistance from makers of cold remedies, the work group proposed an outright ban on the sale in Oregon of hard tablet cold remedies containing pseudoephedrine, the active ingredient extracted to make meth. Such tablets are the main raw material used in local meth labs. The liquid and "gel-cap" forms of pseudoephedrine would remain available for sale because they have not, so far, been found in meth labs.

The proposal calls for alternative incarceration programs within the corrections system, with incentives for meth-addicted offenders to undergo treatment in order to shorten their sentences. It also calls for better funding of special drug courts to manage the treatment of offenders convicted of possession of illegal drugs.

The meth package will be presented in bill form to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees in the next week or two, with hearings to gather comments from the public. A fiscal analysis of the cost will be developed at the same time.

June 1, 2005 by Greg Macpherson
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House of Democrates:
I am currently dealing with a son, whom I just discovered started using meth. This a very painful situation for the whole family. We have raised our son in a very supportive environment, and godly home, that's not to say that even children in christain homes are not immune to this big problem.
Thru this awful and painful experience, I know recoginize that I'm not alone in this painful journey, I spend countless hours trying to figure out what I can do to help my son, I'm still trying to understand what took him there in the first place, and why he continues to use. I recognize that he has lost, his self control over this problem, and he can't see beyond his need to use.
I believe we will get our son thru this, and he still has a great chance to be a productive citizen. Implementing laws that impose extreme meastures is not the answer to this problem. Not everyone that uses drugs becomes useless to the point that incarceration is the only choice, it sure seems like the path with least resistance is the way to go. Our children are crying for help ! society immediately wants to label this individuals, so there self esteem is stripped, depression takes over & loss of confidence and self worth becomes their reality. When a person no longer values his own life, then he's not going to care about other peoples lives, and that's when I believe crimes begin. Please! consider other alternatives, I know we can figure out how to help our children. Maybe your one of the blessed ones, who's child, grandchild, newphew,niece, brother, sister, mother or father, has never been affected by this awful painful evil called drug addiction. I hope that you never have to wake up and realize that the nightmare of drug addiction, has become a reality that now affects your home. I don't want any parent, to walk a step in my shoes. I know I have a battle in my hands, and I aim to win. Battles are won, when we as a nation come together, and fight for the purpose of humanity. I will forever lean on the strong hand of my savior and lord Jesus Christ. I challenge you to ask yourself one question, What is truth?


Posted by: Dolores | Jun 8, 2005 4:49:48 PM


I am very sorry to hear about your son. Please know that there is definitely tremendous concern over how meth addiction is damaging people and their families. A central part of the bills we are working on has to do with drug rehab programs. We are trying to make a clear distinction between people who are addicted to meth and people who are cooking, distributing and damaging others with meth. We share your view that incarceration is not the only step we can take, and that the human element has to be considered. For those who insist on hurting others and who are unwilling to try to tackle their addiction, prison is clearly the path that must be taken. But for those who are willing to try to fight the addiction and make use of the tools of rehab, that door is there for them to go through.

I wish you all the best in the battle you are in. I have three sons myself, and like you, I would fight for them with everything I've got. If I can assist you in any way, provide information on any program that might help your son in your area, please let me know at [email protected]

Posted by: Rep. Peter Buckley | Jun 8, 2005 10:13:11 PM

Rep. Buckley,

How will an additional criminal charge stop meth sale? Is this meant to look like you are "tough on crime," or is it a concession given in exchange for an agreement from the other side of the isle to better fund prevention programs?

Posted by: Steven Lewis | Jun 14, 2005 5:34:37 PM

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