U.S. Senator Brian Schatz is calling on White House drug policy stakeholders to prioritize funding for efforts that address methamphetamine use, addiction and fatalities.

“Meth misuse and addiction have been consistent problems in my state of Hawaii for decades, but over the past decade, meth-related deaths have risen dramatically, from 37 deaths in 2009 to 147 in 2018,” Schatz wrote in the Dec. 13 letter addressed to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Over seven pounds of methamphetamine were seized from a Hanamaulu home in 2016. Courtesy: Kauai County

Hawaii meth-related overdose fatalities surpassed other drug overdose deaths in 2014, and has continued to exceed other drug related overdoses in each year since.

The Queen’s Health Systems hospital officials have said they’ve struggled to keep up with the number of patients who come to their emergency department with meth-related issues.

Meth-related death rates have also increased elsewhere in the U.S., including West Virginia and Alaska.

Schatz said the trends have “alarming implications” for national drug policies.

“As ONDCP… responds to the opioid overdose epidemic, it is imperative that you also prioritize efforts to stem and reduce meth misuse, addiction and deaths,” Schatz stated.

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