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Andrews Receives $324,000 Research Grant

Date: October 17, 2005
Phone: 269-471-3322

If you’ve chased your runny nose to the drug store recently in search of Tylenol Cold & Flu to alleviate the seasonal sniffles, you might have noticed that cold remedies have now joined ranks with tobacco and other behind-the-counter controlled substances. Before getting relief from those cold symptoms, you may have to show your driver’s license to a pharmacist and sign a register that allows law enforcement officials to monitor how many pills you’ve purchased over a specified period.  State laws restricting the sale of over-the-counter medications come as part of a national movement to reduce the availability of drugs containing chemicals like ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, two of several so-called precursor chemicals used to create methamphetamine in small, clandestine labs found in trailers, barns, and homes around the country.

In order to study the impact of these laws, the National Institute of Justice, the research arm of the Department of Justice, recently awarded a team of researchers from Andrews University and The MayaTech Corporation a $324,000 grant to document state methamphetamine precursor laws and analyze the relationship between state precursor drug restrictions and the reduction of small toxic labs (STL), homegrown meth labs.

Methamphetamine, a highly addictive central nervous system stimulant, poses a “significant threat to public safety” according to the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) and specifically endangers children living in close proximity to STLs.

While many states have already passed legislation meant to curb over-the-counter methamphetamine precursor availability, similar laws remain pending in several other states.  Similar legislation is being considered in the U.S. Congress as well.

Duane McBride, chair of the Behavioral Sciences Department and director of the University’s Institute for Prevention of Addictions, will serve as the principal investigator of this 20 month-long investigation. Also on the research team are Curt VanderWaal, Andrews professor of social work, and Jamie Chriqui, co-principal investigator, and Jean O’Connor of The MayaTech Corporation, an applied social science research firm with expertise in state-level legal research and analysis located in Silver Spring, Maryland. The team submitted a proposal for the project in March of this year and received news of its approval in mid-August 2005.

“This is an opportunity to work with state and national policy makers to help define the best policy approach to reduce the number of clandestine labs across the United States,” stated McBride.

VanderWaal looks forward to participating in this nationally significant research project. “This grant allows Andrews University to play an important role in answering a question that really matters to the nation—namely, is there a relationship between tougher state methamphetamine laws and changes in the number of STL seizures and children found at lab sites?” he stated.

Jamie Chriqui, co-principal investigator, noted that “This project will provide a unique opportunity to shed light on the important role that states have played in addressing a critical drug problem facing our nation.”

The grant began October 1, 2005.

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Berrien Springs, Michigan 49104