Speeches and Floor Statements
Congressman McHenry Statement and Introduction of Rutherford County Chief Deputy Sheriff Phil Byers on the Methamphetamines Problem
Congressman McHenry's Opening statement and testimony of Rutherford County Chief Deputy Sheriff Phil Byers in front of the Government Reform Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and Drug Policy
Washington, July 26, 2005 | Jonathan Collegio (202.225.2576)
Below are Congressman McHenry's opening statement and introduction of Rutherford County, North Carolina Chief Deputy Sheriff Phil Byers to the Government Reform Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and Drug Policy, as he gave testimony on the Methamphetamines epidemic.
Introduction for Chief Deputy Byers
Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to introduce Chief Deputy Phil Byers from Rutherford County. He has great experience in this area of combating the methamphetamine epidemic. While he is a constituent of mine, he went to school in Congresswoman Foxx’s District at Appalachian State University where he got his B.S. and then went on to receive his Masters of Public Administration at Western Carolina University.
He loves education, which you can tell from his previous years as a teacher and as a former business owner. For the last 15 years he has been in law enforcement, including serving the past 4 years as the Chief Deputy Sheriff of Rutherford County.
Rutherford is an area with severe meth problems. The Sheriff’s office has worked hard to tackle this rising problem and create innovative solutions. Rutherford County has the second highest number of meth labs in North Carolina – and just last week the Sheriff’s Office raided their 13th of the year.
I appreciate Chief Deputy Byers traveling to Washington, DC with his new wife Shelia for this hearing. Mr. Chairman, I ask that you go easy on him, but if not, I’m sure he can hold his own.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for your continued leadership in the fight to protect our country from methamphetamines and for calling this important hearing today. This hearing is appropriately named “Fighting Meth in America’s Heartland,” because that is exactly where the impact is being felt, throughout rural America.
Today we have two expert panels that have seen first hand the staggering affects of the methamphetamine problem. I would like to personally recognize and welcome Chief Deputy Philip Byers from Rutherford County who is a constituent of mine and on the second panel; thank you for participating today.
In particular, the local sheriff’s offices and state run child service programs have the unique challenge of witnessing and combating meth on the human level where the devastating impact on our children is seen almost everyday. In 2004, over 3,357 children nationally were found to be connected with seized labs. The problem is growing and is not a faceless one, as our witnesses will testify too.
The debilitating mental and physical effects of this drug, the production process, and the way it touches everyone especially in rural communities are not being overlooked. In North Carolina alone, Medicaid costs are in part increasing due to the rise in children that are taken out of homes with meth labs and end up in the custody of Department of Social Services. This is a not only an economic concern, but also a concern for the welfare of the children and families that are being neglected and broken up because of this drug.
Promoting awareness of this spreading problem, protecting our children, and providing resources to those on the front lines are some of the key areas needed to combat this problem and what we need to learn more about today. In an effort to combat meth, I introduced a bill that doubles the penalties for individuals that manufacture or traffic controlled substances in the presence of minors. This legislation came directly from an idea discussed during a district-wide meth conference I attended in February.
I would like to welcome all of our witnesses today and thank you for taking the time to be here to lend us your expertise so that we can better understand the problem through your knowledge of how this affects America’s Heartland. I look forward to hearing from each of you and for the opportunity to discuss what needs to be done to protect our children and our counties.
Thank you again Mr. Chairman and I look forward to a productive hearing.