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Prescriptions Required for Cold Medicine?

By January 27, 2010

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Losing the battle against methamphetamine abuse, many states have passed laws requiring pharmacies to place cold and allergy medications behind the counter. Other states require photo identification from anyone purchasing medicines containing pseudoephedrine, a main ingredient in making meth.

Now several states have legislation pending that would require a prescription to buy any of these former over-the-counter medications.

Mississippi is the latest state to propose prescriptions for pseudoephedrine-containing medications after the number of arrests for meth outnumbered those for crack and power cocaine for the first time last year.

Middle of the Storm

Marshall Fisher, director of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, is a former Drug Enforcement Administration agent who has seen a gradual increase in methamphetamine abuse over the past 30 years.

"I've been in the middle of this storm for three decades," he told reporters. "It's tragic."

Fisher is lobbying for the prescription law in Mississippi while similar laws have been introduced in Georgia, Missouri and Washington. Oregon was the first state to adopt such a law, in 2006. In the year after the law went into effect, the number of meth labs busted in Oregon dropped from 473 to 20.

Big Pharm Opposes Law

Naturally, the pharmaceutical industry strongly opposes laws requiring prescriptions for cold medications. The industry has offered to create a real-time electronic system that would let law enforcement track all sales of pseudoephedrine.

The pharmaceutical industry's opposition is so strong, it has offered to purchase the electronic-tracking systems for states that have a serious meth lab problem.

The electronic tracking systems are already being used in Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma. The systems are being implemented in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana and Missouri.

Doesn't Stop 'Smurfing'

Proponents of the prescription laws say that the electronic tracking system, that limits how much cold medicine a single buyer can purchase, does not stop meth production, because it can be circumvented by the practice of "smurfing."

"A group will pile into a car and go store-to-store and purchase enough to make a batch of meth," Fisher said. "A prescription law would stop that."

News Source:
Miss. to Mull Making Cold Meds Prescription-Only

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Photo: Clipart.com
January 30, 2010 at 10:51 pm
(1) Taxpayer says:

This was simply a case of our politicians jumping on the bandwagon looking for a quick fix. What they failed to research, or just totally ignored is that Oregon had a multi disciplined approach to the problem. In addition to the prescription requirement, they went forward with state funding of education programs, rehabilitation efforts, and community and social programs. Washington State accomplished the same results, if not better, but without the prescription requirement.

Each state also went forward with developing a steering commitee of sorts, with reps from stakeholders in the state and stopped throwing grant money at law enforcement, who, to be honest, made no effort at demand reduction and in most cases did not use it to develop solutions, or long term strategies, but defaulted to buying new cars, laptop computers, overtime, training sessions that allowed trips to Disney World, and other toys that really had no effect on the problem.

Also, what they didnt mention about Oregon; it pushed the domestic meth producers underground into the same pill-head prescription system that gives us dirty doctors and a wall of HIPPA regulations and laws that make pharmacuetical diversion cases so difficult to investigate, and have prosecuted, you know the same system that can not prevent pill heads from selling oxycontin on the street for $80 bucks a pill. And, with the reduction of domestic labs, it fostered the Mexican based gangs to gain a strangle-hold in the state, which brought much more meth and violence to their state.

The police have to be smarter than the meth producers, and begin to use existing technology, or develop more intelligence driven investigations. Currently, they are not using the existing laws that require the reporting of PSE sales, and some of the existing data-bases, such as Meth-Check, that has been up and running in our state for some time now. Ask your local sheriff, or police chief who are backing this bill if his agency is a member of Meth Check (the service is provided free to law enforcement) and use its database to monitor PSE Sales in his jurisdiction. I bet a Who-dat T-Shirt, they dont know what youre talking about. But these same lacklustre leaders will wring their hands and tell their local elected officials they need more money, they need more laws. Also, these are the same police leaders who look at meth investigations as black-holes. They get nothing out of them, they dont get to seize cars, property, or other assets, because theyre just not there, or theyre tainted with a haz-mat liabilities. So, theres nothing in it for them, other than doing the job we expect them to do, and thats not enough sometimes!

I know what I will do, along with thousand of other residents. When I get the sniffles, I am not going to wait two weeks to see my doctor, pay him a $100 bucks, then go pay another $50 for the medicine. Ill drive over to another state, and buy a few packs, but you know what else. While Im there, Ill get my groceries for a few weeks, go shopping at those malls too. Ill be spending money over there with thousands of others from our state.

Ive been in the trenches, and Ill tell you that this is foolhardy. This effort was based on poor information provided to our state politicians from guys who wear the badge and uniform like a party costume. “

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