The 'scourge' of Colorado

Task force report indicates meth abuse doubled

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The Methamphetamine Task Force, a state panel chaired by Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, released its first report on the 'scourge' of the highly addictive narcotic in Colorado on Tuesday.

The report indicates that methamphetamine abuse has risen since 2000, while the presence of labs has lessened.

"Our data indicates that the rate of methamphetamine abuse has doubled in the last five years," wrote Suthers, in a summary of the report. "This alarming trend has significant and devastating effects on our communities. Through the work of the Meth Task Force, we look forward to seeing this trend decline."

Treatment admission rates have increased from 8 percent in 2000 to 19 percent in 2005, according to the report. But, while use may have increased, lab production has not.

The report contends that the number of methamphetamine labs has decreased in the past three years, perhaps due to the passage of laws making it more difficult to purchase products used to cook the drug.

It also indicates that communities and law enforcement officials are communicating more, making it more difficult for labs to operate in largely rural neighborhoods.

The task force, formed in July 2006, also reported that the best practices to combat meth abuse are to increase the capacity of interagency collection systems, continually review and develop effective programs and policies examining models on how to protect children and other victims of meth.

As of yet, there have been no proposals from the task force to the state legislature on fighting meth use and production.

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