Comments Off on Fact Checker: Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and impact of Methamphetamine – at least a “B”


“I’m told that meth-related treatment admissions are at an all-time high here. And last year, nearly half of all drug-related prison admissions in our state resulted from the trafficking or abuse of meth, also an all-time high. So meth is obviously continuing to impact Iowa in terrible ways.”

“These laws have proven highly effective in drastically reducing the presence of meth labs in our communities. Today, law enforcement’s seizure of meth labs is at almost a 20-year low in Iowa.”

Source of claims:, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made the above comments in a prepared statement for an Oct. 13 field hearing about methamphetamine use in Iowa.

Grassley, who has worked on several anti-meth bills, is pushing for the Transnational Drug Trafficking Act, which he co-sponsored. The bill would make it easier to prosecute cartels that traffic drugs or drug precursors in from outside countries.


An official with Grassley’s communications staff provided two 2015 reports from the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy as source material for the senator’s claims.

We’ll take these quotes one at a time.

The first claim states that meth-related treatment admissions are at an all-time high, while the drug has accounted for half of all drug-related prison admissions in the state.

According to a July 2015 report entitled Drug Trends in Iowa, Progress, Peril and Perseverance, compiled by the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy, Iowa had 7,196 meth treatment admissions last year. That number dropped from a high of 6,292 in 2005 to as low as 3,340 in 2008 before climbing back up each following year.

A 2015 Iowa Drug Control Strategy report, also compiled by the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy, states that Iowa had 942 drug-related prison admissions last year. Of those prison admissions, 472 — almost exactly half — were for meth violations.

According to the report, prison admissions for meth use began to drop in 2005 with that year’s passage of the state’s Pseudoephedrine Control Act.

That act placed limits on how much over-the-counter medicine containing meth ingredients a customer can purchase at one time.

Meth-related prison admissions reached a low of less than 400 in 2009, but increased importation of meth through drug trafficking caused admissions to begin climbing again, according to the report.

Grassley’s second quote states that meth lab seizures are at almost a 20-year low in Iowa.

When he says “these laws,” Grassley is referring to the Methamphetamine Production Prevention Act of 2008 and the 2010 Methamphetamine Enhancement Act. Grassley co-sponsored both acts, which provided a system to better track bulk purchases of meth precursors.

Looking back at the drug trends report from last year, the number of meth labs seized in Iowa dropped roughly 88 percent, from a peak of 1,500 labs in 2004 to 174 last year — the lowest it had been since 1997.

So while meth lab seizures have been declining in Iowa, increased trafficking of meth and its precursors has prison and treatment admissions on the rise.


Grassley’s political resume includes several notable legislative moves to combat methamphetamine in Iowa, which helps explain why he is so knowledgeable of the subject.

Grassley’s comment that meth lab seizures are at an almost 20-year low appears accurate, with 1997 the last time lab seizures were below the 170 mark.

According to the Drug Control Policy report, meth-related treatment admissions last year were the highest they’ve ever been.

As for last year’s drug-related prison admissions, 50 percent were for meth. Grassley again was on the money.

However, the second part of that quote — that this is the highest it’s ever been — is off. A chart in the Drug Control Strategy report shows that back in 2005, Iowa had roughly 1,100 drug related prison admissions, with more than 700 of those due to meth use or trafficking, or about 64 percent.

Meth admissions have been climbing since 2009, but they haven’t reached the level present a decade ago.

Overall, we give Grassley’s claims a B.


The Fact Checker team checks statements made by an Iowa political candidate/office holder or a national candidate/office holder about Iowa, or in advertisements that appear in our market. Claims must be independently verifiable. We give statements grades from A to F based on accuracy and context.

If you spot a claim you think needs checking, email us at

This Fact Checker was researched and written by Mitchell Schmidt.



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