Tag Archives: pseudoepherine

Haslam stands by his anti-meth bill, though it’s now on hold in House

By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam said Wednesday he is standing by his anti-meth proposal despite the bill being sidetracked in a House subcommittee earlier this week.

The Republican governor told The Associated Press that his proposal to limit sales of cold and allergy medicines used to make the illegal drug will do more to combat meth production in Tennessee than a rival measure with lesser restrictions.

“If you talk to most law enforcement officials, they would say that the limits we set are a lot more likely to make a big difference to what’s a big problem in Tennessee,” Haslam said. “I think our bill will live to see another day and we feel good about its long-term prospects.”

Haslam’s comments came a day after the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee delayed consideration of his administration’s proposal until its last meeting on March 18. The subcommittee did advance Chairman Tony Shipley’s bill that carries lesser restrictions on the amount of medicines that could be bought without a prescription.

Shipley, a Kingsport Republican, said his bill would set that annual limit at an eight-month supply, while the governor’s proposal would restrict people with chronic allergies to less than a three-month supply.

Shipley’s proposal would cap prescription-free purchases to 44.8 grams of pseudoephedrine per year — more than three times Haslam’s proposed limit of 14.4 grams.
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House panel sidetracks Haslam’s anti-meth bill; approves alternative measure

By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A House subcommittee Tuesday sidetracked Gov. Bill Haslam’s anti-meth proposal while advancing a rival measure that would place lesser restrictions on buying cold and allergy medicines used to make the illegal drug.

State Rep. Tony Shipley, the chairman of the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, said there was “simply no stomach” on the panel for the governor’s proposal that would limit the annual amount of medicines containing the meth precursor pseudoephedrine at the equivalent of a 2 ½-month supply of medicines like Sudafed.

The panel advanced the Kingsport Republican’s own proposal, which he said would cover an eight-month supply, or 44.8 grams of pseudoephedrine per year — more than three times Haslam’s proposed limit of 14.4 grams.

The move drew the ire of House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, who is responsible for shepherding Haslam’s legislative agenda through the Legislature.

“We’ve got a good number of members that would like to see the governor’s bill, and see it closer to what he wants than what Rep. Shipley wants,” McCormick said.

“He made a terrible mistake moving his bill ahead of the governor’s bill, and I don’t think it will be successful,” he said.

McCormick also took issue with Shipley’s suggestion during the committee hearing that putting the governor’s bill on hold was by agreement with the various parties involved.
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Ramsey reconsiders prescription-only pseudoephedrine

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey says he may reconsider his opposition to requiring a prescription for pseudoephedrine-based cold and flu medicines to combat illegal methamphetamine production, reports the Chattanooga TFP.

The Blountville Republican last week said results of a Vanderbilt University poll showing 65 percent of 860 registered voters would accept prescriptions to fight meth production were “amazing to me.”

“That makes me feel better, because I have evolved on this issue, from thinking, ‘Why should 99 percent of the people be punished for the 1 percent that abuse it?'” Ramsey said. At the same time, he said, the meth problem across Tennessee is “unbelievable.”

He said he’s not ready to commit to a prescription requirement (but) has “gone from being against it to very, very open to it.”

Law enforcement has begged state lawmakers for years to require physician prescriptions for products like Sudafed and Actifed. The products’ main ingredient, the decongestant pseudoephedrine, is the key ingredient in the highly addictive drug.

Tennessee is among the top four in the nation for annual meth lab discoveries.
But local officials complain the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, which represents major pharmaceutical manufacturers, has successfully lobbied against the prescription-only approach.

…The Consumer Healthcare Products Association hailed Cooper’s opinion, which became public a few days before the release of the Vanderbilt poll. The group said its own polling showed Tennesseans want “effective solutions” to meth abuse, but not a prescription requirement.

“When presented with the full scope of this complex issue — which includes the fact that the large majority of methamphetamine is imported into this country and imposing a prescription requirement on law abiding citizens will do nothing to address the demand for meth — Tennesseans oppose legislation that would require them to take time off of work to visit a doctor for cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine,” the group said in a statement.

…The (Vanderbilt poll) findings conflict with a February poll of 600 voters put out by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. That poll reported 56 percent opposed requiring prescriptions for pseudoephedrine and 36 percent supported it.

The association poll found 61 percent of voters who use the over-the-counter remedies to treat colds and flu opposed the proposal. The poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent. No information was provided on who conducted the poll or the wording or order of the questions, which can affect response.

Congressmen Question Prescription Database

Two congressmen have called for a federal investigation of the electronic database used by Tennessee and 23 other states to track drugstore sales of methamphetamine’s main ingredient, reports the News Sentinel.
U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Johnson City, and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, wrote to the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday asking for an inquiry into whether the system skirts agreements with state governments, stonewalls police and violates federal law by mining the sales numbers for marketing data.
“We have new concerns about the legality, integrity and effectiveness of this tracking system and believe it may warrant greater federal scrutiny at this time,” the letter reads. The system “may not only be violating (federal law), but may also be impeding law enforcement’s anti-diversion efforts, intentionally or otherwise.”
The company that operates the database says it’s done nothing wrong.
Pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient in some popular cold and sinus medicines, also serves as the foundation for most recipes for meth, an addictive stimulant that mimics adrenaline. Meth cooks use household chemicals such as lantern fuel and drain cleaner to break down pseudoephedrine, producing toxic waste and sometimes fires and explosions in the process.