Fighting the War on Meth

Fighting the War on Meth
By: Ryan Tate

BENTON, IL --Southern Illinois Representatives John Bradley and Brandon Phelps propose helping methamphetamine users break the habit. A bill is in the legislature calling for the creation of the "Methamphetamine Abusers Pilot Program" located at the Franklin County Juvenile Detention Center.
There is no cost attached to the bill yet, as it sits in a House Committee. Bradley says he proposed the bill after talking with more than 30 law enforcement and emergency crews from Southern Illinois in January. The idea behind the new facility is to keep meth users from using meth after they're arrested. According to Bradley and medical officials, meth users reuse the drug 65% to 93% of the time. That means more work for Heartland law enforcement.
"If they do it right, it would be a tremendous help. We would be cleaning up the addicts, there would be a cut in our crime because 80% of crime is drug related," J.R. Moore said. Moore is the coordinator for the drug task force in Franklin County.
Moore says Franklin County has seen a rise in meth crime over the past five years. In 1999, there were two arrests. Between 2000 and 2002, there was 90. He believes 50% of their workload are meth related cases, and roughly 80% of the current inmates in the Franklin County Jail are in there on meth-related crimes.
The proposed facility would be used by all of Southern Illinois, and rehabilitate inmates for between 90 and 180 days. Franklin County Sheriff Bill Wilson says anything less than 90 days would be a waste of time for everyone, because meth users can't kick the habit in less than three months.