Kentucky Meth Police Say Database Is No Silver Bullet

Tennessee lawmakers are poised to vote this week on a measure aimed at makers of the homemade drug methamphetamine. They’ve been debating an online database to track and limit the sale of the drug’s key ingredient, the cold medicine pseudoephedrine.

Many Tennessee police aren’t happy with the proposal, pointing to neighboring Kentucky, which already has such a system. Law enforcers there say the meth problem continues to grow.

Kentucky State Police Sergeant Gerald Wilson was in Clarksville a few weeks ago training Tennessee police how to dispose of toxic chemicals found at meth labs. He says the commonwealth adopted the online database to track cold medicine purchases a couple of years ago, but meth busts have continued to climb anyway.

“On paper it looks good, but in all actuality it’s not decreasing meth labs.”

Last year Kentucky counted about 300 more meth labs than the year before, totaling more than a thousand.

“And this year at the rate we’re going right now we’re going be in the 15 hundred, 16 hundred range, meth labs… And that’s with having MethCheck.”

Wilson thinks instead of an online database tracking pseudoephedrine, states should follow Oregon and Mississippi by requiring a prescription for it. But State Senator Mae Beavers says prescription drug abuse poses its own problem for police.

“When they get control of hydrocodone and all the other drugs that are being sold on the streets of Tennessee, then I might trust that a prescription would help us, but I don’t trust that a prescription would help at all.”

Beavers’ database proposal has already passed in the state Senate, while a House version is up for a floor vote this Thursday.

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