Fact-checkers at The Washington Post have awarded Democrat Phil Bredesen three Pinocchios for making the false claim that Tennessee’s meth problem was cut in half under his watch as governor.
… the fact is that Tennessee’s meth problem was not “cut in half” under his watch. Measuring the number of meth lab incidents or seizures from 2005 to 2007 is very convenient but rather misleading, especially since these figures began to climb in 2008 and continued to rise through the end of Bredesen’s term as governor.
Moreover, the DEA’s figures on meth lab incidents or seizures may not be as reliable a gauge of the “meth problem” as they once were. One-pot meth makers don’t need a meth lab to ply their trade. Mexican drug cartels aren’t making their meth in the United States.
For his selective memory, Bredesen earns Three Pinocchios.
There are also additional details here.
Bredesen representatives said Tennessee was among the first states to enact these restrictions, and they pointed to DEA figures showing that meth lab incidents or seizures in Tennessee declined from 2,341 in 2004 to 599 in 2007. That’s a 74 percent decrease — way more than half — but we won’t make any hay about Bredesen being more right than he said.
What we will make hay about is the 2007 cutoff point he’s using. After declining from 2005 to 2007, Tennessee meth lab incidents or seizures began to rise again in 2008. In 2011, the year Bredesen left office, they rose to 2,333, according to the same DEA figures Bredesen’s campaign cited. That’s a meager, 0.3 percent decline compared with 2004.
Tennessee was among the top two or three states with meth lab incidents or seizures from 2003 to 2011, accounting for nearly 10 percent of the U.S. total, according to DEA data provided to the Government Accountability Office.
Also, the AmericaRising PAC wasted no time in piling on Bredesen’s deception here.
Bredesen used selective statistics to attempt to bolster his record on combating the drug crisis. The facts remain:
Meth lab seizure incidents increased 178% from 2008 to 2011. In 2009, the drug-induced death rate in TN was higher than national average.
From 2002 to 2011 (10 years), TN had the second-highest meth lab seizures in the nation (behind only Missouri).
Bredesen’s campaign message focuses on touting his record as governor, but that only works if the message is factual.