WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJHL) — U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday signed a bill co-sponsored by Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-TN) into law, according to a spokesperson with Harshbarger’s office.
A release states that the law, the Methamphetamine Response Act of 2021, aims to acknowledge the rising threat the drug poses across the country. It will entail that the Office of National Drug Control Policy develops a national response plan to combat the rising use of meth within 90 days.
“East Tennessee is no stranger to the devastating effects of opioid addiction,” Harshbarger stated. “Synthetic drugs are poisoning our households, and it’s time that our government, health care professionals and law enforcement worked together to stop the epidemic.
“I am glad to see that a bill I supported on behalf of families in East Tennessee hurt by opioid addiction was signed into law today. This legislation is a strong bipartisan effort to stop methamphetamine from taking more loved ones from their families.”
Harshbarger serves as a member of the Republican Doctors Caucus and the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force, with addresses the increases seen in addiction-related fatalities across the nation.
“Congresswoman Harshbarger understands that it will take a multifaceted approach to stop the deadly consequences of opioids and stimulants, which begins with recognizing the increasing threat of illegal substances,” a spokesperson stated.
Harshbarger previously cosponsored another bill targeting the epidemic of drug-related deaths, the Stopping Overdoses of Fentanyl Analogues Act, which adds five fentanyl analogues and all fentanyl-related substances to the Schedule I category.
According to the 2021 TN Annual Overdose Report, deaths involving stimulants other than cocaine — primarily methamphetamine overdoses — have been on the rise for the past five years.
The 2019 toxicology report revealed that methamphetamine was reported as the cause of death in 501 overdoses across the state that year — accounting for 34% of overdose deaths, second behind fentanyl. Toxicology reports that year found methamphetamine in 510 people who had died from drug use.
“Although the number of deaths from prescription opioid overdoses (pain relievers) has been decreasing since 2017, overdose deaths due to fentanyl and methamphetamine have only continued to rise,” the overdose report stated.
The bill, which was introduced on March 18, 2021, was sponsored by Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA). Other cosponsors include Rep. John Curtis (R-UT), Rep. Cynthia Axne (D-IA) and Rep. Josh Harder (D-CA).
To read the complete legislation, click here.