With meth lab busts in Tennessee on the rise again, one state lawmaker wants to require prescriptions for the so-called “precursors” found in cold medicine. Pharmacists and drug companies are already lining up to keep pseudoephedrine available over the counter.
Urban areas are seeing more busts, but meth has historically been a rural problem.
There was a big discovery in Rep. David Hawk’s hometown of Greeneville a few weeks ago in which kids had to be taken to a hospital and decontaminated from living in a meth lab. He says the incident factors into his push for infringing on what some see as an individual liberty and requiring prescriptions.
“It’s a difficult issue. We’ve got to try to find that happy medium somewhere. The Pseudoephed on a prescription list is an extreme measure, but it is to bring light to the situation and the grave concerns that we’ve got in our communities.”
Two states require prescriptions for cold medicine. And both Mississippi and Oregon have seen meth production drop.
Two years ago the Tennessee legislature considered prescriptions but chose instead to just increase tracking of who buys cold medicine. A state comptroller report found the point-of-sale monitoring has not slowed down meth lab busts, though one proponent says that’s just because law enforcement now knows how to find the meth cooks.
The Tennessee Pharmacists Association is opposed to prescriptions for pseudoephedrine. In a press release, the organization says the tracking system that went into place last year needs more “time to work.”