Congress Approves Feinstein Measure for Two-Year Extension of Program to Help Drug-Endangered Children
-Reauthorizes $20 million in grants to help children who lived at dangerous drug labs-
Sep 24 2008
Washington, DC – The Senate today approved a measure introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to extend for two years a program to help children endangered by having lived at dangerous drug labs.
The Drug Endangered Children Act (S.1210) now goes to the White House and awaits the President’s signature.
The legislation would authorize $20 million in grants for Fiscal Years 2008 and 2009. The money would help provide safe environments and proper treatment for children exposed to drug production or illegal drug use in the home, particularly meth labs.
The measure is co-sponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).
“One of the great tragedies of the drug trade in America today is the toll it takes on the hundreds of thousands of children whose parents are addicted to or selling illegal drugs,” Senator Feinstein said.
“These children wind up being neglected and abused – and even abandoned by their parents. And the children who are most at risk at those living in homes used as laboratories to produce highly toxic drugs, such as methamphetamine.
“We must do more to help these children. They have been put in grave danger – through no fault of their own – and this legislation will ensure that they are extended a helping hand when they need it most. I urge the President to sign this legislation.”
Companion legislation introduced by Representative Dennis Cardoza (D-Merced) passed the House of Representatives last year.
This is the latest piece of legislation by Senator Feinstein designed to combat methamphetamine and protect children. Senator Feinstein introduced the Combat Meth Act, co-sponsored by former Senator Jim Talent (R-Mo.), to restrict the sale of ingredients used to produce methamphetamine. It was signed into law by President Bush in March 2006.
Senator Feinstein has also introduced legislation, co-sponsored by Senator Grassley, to penalize dealers who sell candy-flavored methamphetamine to children. Also, the Senate has passed legislation introduced by Senator Feinstein to ensure that retailers are in compliance with the Combat Meth Act.
Also, the Senate on April 1 approved the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act, introduced by Senator Feinstein and Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), to prohibit the sale of controlled substances over the Internet without a valid prescription, and to shut down rogue online pharmacies.
Feinstein’s legislation recognizes the fact that methamphetamine has become a major threat to America’s children:
- More than 1.6 million children live in homes where at least one person abuses illicit drugs, including methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, or prescription drugs, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
- Children are found at 20% of all meth lab seizures, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
- 40 percent of child welfare officials nationwide report an increase in child welfare cases caused directly by methamphetamine abuse, according to the National Association of Counties.
- In Merced County alone, nearly 70 percent of foster care cases are meth-related.
Following is a summary of the Drug Endangered Children Act:
The Drug Endangered Children Act (S.1210) would reauthorize funding of a program that was first authorized in 2006 as part of the USA PATRIOT Reauthorization Act.
It would specifically authorize $20 million for Fiscal Years 2008 and 2009 for grants to states to carry out programs that provide comprehensive services to aid children who have lived in homes in which methamphetamine or other controlled substances were unlawfully manufactured, distributed, dispensed, or used.
The legislation requires the Attorney General to ensure that services financed with these grants include:
- Coordination among law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, child protective services, social services, health care services, and any other services determined to be appropriate by the Attorney General to provide assistance; and
- Transition of children from toxic or drug-endangering environments to appropriate residential environments.