Bennet Leads Bipartisan Push to Increase Support, Awareness to Curb Meth Use Among Colorado Youth

Colorado Ranks 8th in Nation in Total Methamphetamine Use, Costing State $1.4 Billion a Year

Bipartisan Bill Would Create Grant Program to Build on Success of Ongoing Meth Prevention Campaigns

Washington, DC - With methamphetamine continuing to be available and affordable to Colorado's most vulnerable populations, Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, today introduced a bill that would enlist the federal government in a private-public partnership to prevent teens and young adults from falling victim to the highly addictive and destructive effects of meth.

Bennet's bipartisan bill, the Meth Project Prevention Campaign Grant Program Act, would provide increased resources and support for successful, but underfunded, meth prevention efforts already underway. It would create a $20 million grant program, to be matched by private funding, under the U.S. Department of Justice to support the Meth Project Prevention Campaign, which is designed to enhance the understanding of risks, promote constructive parent-child and peer-to-peer conversations related to meth use and engage communities to assist with the effort.

"Informing Colorado's kids and young adults about the danger and highly-destructive nature of meth is the best way to beat back this silent scourge in our communities," said Bennet. "The Meth Project prevention campaign has shown us that if kids know about the real dangers of meth, they'll make well-informed, rational decisions. The social and economic costs of meth use are real - for our kids, for our families, for cash-strapped communities. It's time we upped our efforts and made a real commitment to preventing the spread of meth into our homes and communities."

Colorado currently ranks 8th in the nation in total methamphetamine use, costing the state $1.4 billion a year. Despite law enforcement successes, meth continues to be available and affordable to Colorado's teens and young adults. Forty-one percent of Colorado Meth addicts in treatment began using at age 17 or younger.

Moreover, the annual economic burden of meth abuse in the United States is estimated between $16.2 billion and $48.3 billion annually. The cost of meth related crime for law enforcement and the criminal justice system is $4.2 billion. The U.S. market for meth represents an annual revenue $5 billion for international drug cartels and poses a significant threat to U.S. national security.

First launched in Montana as the Montana Meth Project, the program is focused solely on prevention. Since its inception in 2005, it has achieved substantial results. Meth use among teens in Montana has declined by 63 percent, meth-related crime has dropped 62 percent. The Meth Project has since expanded its programs into Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Wyoming, Georgia and Hawaii. In Arizona and Idaho, where the Meth Project has been in place for more than two years, teen meth use has dropped by 50 percent since the launch of The Project.

Bennet's bill would build upon successful best practices already in use by the Meth Project in states like Colorado. Co-sponsors of the bipartisan legislation include Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Mike Crapo (R-ID).