Is state prepared to end meth scourge?

South Bend Tribune

For years now, many have argued that the best way to shut down Indiana’s meth labs is by making pseudoephedrine available by prescription only.

Recently, the Association of Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys added its voice, urging legislators to ban over-the-counter sales of this prime ingredient in methamphetamine.

Advocates for this change point to declines in the number of meth labs in other states with the requirement. Oregon, for example, went to prescription-only pseudoephedrine in 2006, and saw the number of meth labs discovered in the state fall from 192 in 2005 to nine in 2013.

Such measures haven’t gone far in the General Assembly, however: Last year, no vote was allowed for a prescription requirement bill. Some blame the legislators’ failure to act on the influence of the pharmaceutical companies and retailers that make and sell the nonprescription cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine, who fear a drop in sales.

But now House Speaker Brian Bosma has identified the issue as a top priority for the upcoming legislative session. “We’ve become the meth-cooking capital and we’re going to take some action on that,” Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said in a recent interview. “I’m prepared to advocate for a prescription for pseudoephedrine. I know that’s inconvenient … but people are cooking this into a drug that is killing our children, our adults in this state.”

In previous comments, we’ve cited concerns about the burden a prescription requirement would place on law-abiding consumers. That’s a valid concern, but it shouldn’t be the only consideration in battling this scourge.

The state, which had 1,488 methamphetamine busts in 2014, leading the nation, can’t afford to take this potential solution off the table, or avoid the possibility of implementing it here.

Having the support of Bosma means that Indiana may be ready to seriously consider a prescription requirement, which has been endorsed by so many who are on the front lines of Indiana’s meth problem. It’s about time.

This was distributed by Hoosier State Press Association.

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