Former Gov. Mitch Daniels' Newsroom

Contact: Jane Jankowski
Phone: 317-232-1622

For Immediate Release: Apr 12, 2005
Governor focuses efforts on combating meth labs

INDIANAPOLIS (April 12, 2005) ? Governor Mitch Daniels announced several state initiatives that will bolster Indiana?s fight against methamphetamine. Since taking office in January, the governor has convened several meetings with law enforcement personnel, education officials and others to come up with new ideas to address the state?s meth problem. Programs outlined today will:

  • utilize a partnership with Indiana?s colleges and universities to help reduce the backlog of drug cases at state police drug-testing laboratories while preparing Indiana students in the forensic science field
  • develop a ?real time? reporting database between prosecutors and drug-testing labs
  • standardize procedures for removing and protecting children exposed to meth production

The governor also expressed his support for the stricter version of a methamphetamine bill that would restrict access to ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, two products used in the production of meth, and a pilot program at the Miami Correctional Facility that is providing specialized treatment to help rehabilitate meth users and lower repeat offender rates.

?Methamphetamine abuse in Indiana has no boundaries. Its effects are devastating to our families and children, our schools, neighborhoods and the environment,? said the governor. ?There is no overstating the damage this drug is inflicting to Indiana, and there is no step we can take that is too strong to combat this drug.?

With a backlog of more than 8,500 cases, Daniels said the state will begin a pilot program with several universities that will allow faculty and students to work at state police drug testing facilities, including a new 70,000-square-foot state police lab in Indianapolis, to help reduce a glut of drug cases. Dr. Jay Siegel, of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), will coordinate faculty training and assist with defining a standard curriculum and procedures to establish an internship program at regional state police labs in Indianapolis, Ft. Wayne, Lowell and Evansville. Representatives from Franklin College, Ball State University, Indiana State University and IUPUI attended the news conference and will participate; other universities are expected to join the effort.

Students and faculty will work on basic drug cases to free state police personnel to focus their attention on meth cases. This cooperative effort will aid the state police in finding Indiana forensic science students to eventually work in the labs. Typically the state police hire employees and find interns from outside of Indiana.

Another initiative involving state police drug-testing labs would facilitate a ?real time? reporting database between prosecutors and drug-testing labs. Right now, prosecutors do not have an adequate system to advise the labs when cases are no longer going to trial so that drug samples can be removed from testing.

Daniels said the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council is in the process of developing an e-mail notification system that will connect prosecutors in counties with the highest number of meth cases with the state police labs. This database will keep prosecutors apprised of the testing process to facilitate more successful prosecutions and assure that samples are removed from the testing pipeline when tests are no longer needed.

The governor also said that Jim Payne, director of the Department of Child Services, will standardize procedures for removing and protecting children exposed to meth production.

?In so many of our counties, the court caseload involving children is directly related to meth. Yet, we have no coordinated way to take care of our children who by no fault of their own are in the middle of these terrible situations,? said Payne.

Payne will be responsible for establishing procedures to remove a child from a meth site and provide routine medical evaluations for those exposed to meth for extended periods of time.

The governor also said he supports tougher restrictions on the sale of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. The stricter version of Senate Bill 444 would require products containing ephedrine to be placed behind a pharmacy counter; those purchasing the item would be required to have identification.

The initiatives announced today are in addition to the Clean Lifestyle is Freedom Forever (CLIFF) program at the Miami Correctional Facility, an idea proposed by Daniels that took shape within 30 days. The unit, which opened Monday (April 11), is a 204-person treatment unit dedicated to eliminating meth addiction and dependence with goals of helping inmates change their thinking and behavior and to prevent recurrence.


Media contact: Jane Jankowski, Office of the Governor, 317/232-1622