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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 05, 2007
Attorney General’s Office awards grant to battle meth in Yakima


OLYMPIACitizens for Safe Yakima Communities (CSC) will now have an extra $25,000 to fight the battle against methamphetamine in the Yakima area, thanks to a grant from the Office of Attorney General Rob McKenna.

Founded in 2006 and based out of the Yakima Chamber of Commerce, CSC is a private, not for profit, volunteer group of community leaders working together to reduce crime and the causes of crime in the Yakima Valley.

“I’ve been impressed with the Citizens for Safe Yakima Communities since I started working with them,” McKenna said. “This group is living proof that you should never underestimate the power of a group of committed individuals with a compelling cause.”

McKenna presented a large foam-core check to the group at a news conference today involving:

- Carol Holden, Executive Director, Citizens for Safe Yakima Communities

- Ron Shepard, Detective, Narcotics Division, Yakima County Sheriff’s Office

- Tina Moss, VP, Client Services, Enigma Marketing Solutions

- Linda Iasella, Community member

- Mike Morrisette, President/CEO of the Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce

- Lisa Pearl Smith, Director of Membership and Marketing for the Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce

The grant is provided through the Attorney General’s Office’s Consumer Protection Division Cy Pres funds. The funds for this grant came from a $19.5 million multi-state settlement with Purdue Pharma announced in May 2007.  As part of the settlement agreement, Washington received $719,500 to resolve allegations the company aggressively marketed its painkiller OxyContin to doctors while downplaying the risk of addiction.  The terms of the settlement allowed funds to be used for drug education and outreach programs.

McKenna has made fighting methamphetamine a top priority in his administration. Upon taking office in 2005, he launched “Operation: Allied Against  Meth,” a comprehensive three-part program addressing the meth epidemic through education, collaboration and legislation.

Shortly after taking office, McKenna hired two new prosecutors for its criminal justice division specifically to assist counties with complex meth-related cases.

In May 2005, McKenna kicked off “Operation: Allied Against Meth” school presentations for high school students across Washington. Since then, he has given the presentation to more than 33 schools, reaching roughly 24,000 students.

In August 2005, he convened the “Operation: Allied Against  Meth” Task Force, a group of community leaders, law enforcement, prosecutors, legislators and social service providers, to review Washington’s laws and policies and make recommendations for improvement.

The Task Force’s recommendations provided the foundation for the 2006 “Operation: Allied Against Meth” bill, which was approved unanimously by the Legislature, resulting in $1.575 million in funding each year through 2010 to be split across three new multi-jurisdictional pilot enforcement areas in:

• Pacific, Wahkiakum, Lewis, Grays Harbor and Cowlitz counties;

• Walla Walla, Columbia, Garfield, and Asotin counties; and

• Stevens, Ferry, Pend Oreille, and Lincoln counties.

It also provided a minimum of $4 million in state and federal funding for existing multi-jurisdictional drug task forces and local government drug prosecution assistance.

The Attorney General’s Office works with Meth Action Teams across the state, including the Yakima Meth Action Team, to support their efforts to fight meth crime in their communities.

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Contact: Janelle Guthrie, AGO Communications Director, (360) 586-0725


 

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