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Lawmakers hear testimony on proposed meth bill

Laws to limit meth production are not new…but some pharmaceutical experts told lawmakers today…for the most part…they’re not working.

“Electronic tracking and block of sales have had some initial positive impacts….but from the preliminary analysis, evidence suggests smurfing (meth makers hiring others to buy cold meds), continues to be problem,” said Dr. Trish Freeman, the Director of the Center for Advancement of Pharmacy Practice.

Freeman was along several who testified that despite some recent laws since 2004 to combat the production of methamphetamine, hospital admissions and ER visits with people complaining of burns and other meth related issues are on the rise.

“Methamphetamine related inpatient hospitalizations have increased since 2008. Meth related ER visits have increased,” Freeman said.

It’s all ammunition for those who say something needs to be done to stop the scourge…which lawmakers were shown is more rampant in southern and south-central Kentucky.

Lawmakers are expected to consider Senate Bill 50 and other legislation that would require a prescription to buy Sudafed, Claritin D and other medications that currently only require a driver’s license to purchase.

But some believe the bill is overkill. They believe it will only hurt those who depend on the cold medications. They believe the criminal element should be targeted.

“And this bill that Rep. Yonts (is pushing) would improve our tracking system …that anyone convicted of a meth related crime including smurfing would not be able to purchase psuedophredrine products,” said Jim Waters of the Bluegrass Institute, which had several speak out against SB 50 Thursday.

Oklahoma’s narcotics director told lawmakers in the House and Senate Judiciary Committee that requiring a prescription is the only thing that will stop labs.

“Oklahoma has tracked, and tracking doesn’t stop meth labs,” said Darryl Weaver.

Still..some argue the bill will only hurt the ordinary citizen. Pat Davis, wife of congressman Geoff Davis, testified against it, saying it will create a nightmare for her daughter.

“If she had to go see a doctor to get a prescription, she would miss school and work. It will negatively affect her life,” she said.

No vote was taken as more discussion is expected next week.

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