Lawmakers get briefing on impacts of meth

Lawmakers will get a thorough briefing on the methamphetamine crisis in Nevada today beginning with testimony from Rob Bovett, a nationally known expert on addiction, prevention and treatment.

Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, said he and several others, including first lady Dawn Gibbons, are expected to make presentations before a joint session of her Health and Human Services Committee and the Senate Human Resources and Education Committee headed by Sen. Maurice Washington, R-Sparks.

"What we want to accomplish is to bring the committee members up to speed on why meth is a different kind of addictive drug," Leslie said.

"Meth is much worse than any other drug, filling up our jails and our prisons, the crime, child abuse - it just goes on and on."

Assemblywoman Bonnie Parnell, D-Carson City, said she wants to know where best to put Nevada's limited resources to combat the problem, "what is going to have the biggest bang for the buck?"

She said lawmakers need to know what has worked in other states. And that means listening to experts such as Bovett but also law enforcement, those running treatment programs and examining prevention strategies.

Bovett is legal counsel to Oregon's Narcotics Enforcement Agency and president of the Oregon Alliance for Drug-Endangered Children. He was also the expert who helped CBS put together a "Frontline" program on the subject of methamphetamine abuse.

Gibbons has been involved as a volunteer in the meth crisis in Northern Nevada since before her husband's election as governor and has pushed for legislation and funding to deal with the issue. At least in part because of her efforts, Gov. Jim Gibbons included $17.4 million in the proposed budget to beef up anti-meth programs in the state.

Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, who was charged by Gibbons to head those efforts, will also address the committees, discussing the governor's proposals as well as giving an overview of current enforcement programs.

Leslie said representatives of agencies in both Washoe and Clark counties that provide methamphetamine addiction treatment will make presentations to the joint meeting.

"We'll talk about the drug, what it does and what the societal implications are," she said. "The damage it does is the real issue. It just goes on and on."

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. in Room 1214 of the Legislature.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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