Rahall holds onto top spot in House Resources Committee

WASHINGTON – The rising opposition to methamphetamine trafficking in Indian country now includes a study by the Office of National Drug Control Policy that will yield recommendations for enlisting tribal governments in federal anti-meth efforts.

The goal of the study is to improve anti-drug trafficking efforts throughout the nation, but the focus in Indian country is on Arizona tribes, specifically the Navajo Nation, the San Carlos Apache, the White Mountain Apache, the Yavapai Apache and the Tohono O’odham Nation, located south of Phoenix on the border with Mexico. Mexico is a recognized source of methamphetamine entering America.

Ultimately, the tribal governments can expect to participate in the Justice Department’s High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, designed to coordinate and enhance drug control efforts by law enforcement officers across local, state, federal and tribal jurisdictions.

Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz., offered the amendment mandating the study and recommendations to a bill, H.R. 6344 in the House of Representatives, which reauthorized the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The bill as amended passed the House Dec. 7 and the Senate Dec. 8, and will become law upon the signature of President Bush.

Adding his voice to a growing consensus, Renzi said in a statement that the meth problem on tribal lands “has reached crisis levels.”

“This legislation ensures that our tribes have the tools they need to tackle the war on drugs head-on. I applaud my colleagues for approving this important legislation, taking another critical step in fighting the growing meth problem on our tribal lands.”

(For more on the war against meth, see stories on page B1.)