TN Police Will ‘See What Happens’ With Haslam’s Meth Crackdown

TBI director Mark Gwyn speaks with Gov. Bill Haslam looking over his shoulder. Gwyn says he supports the governor's plan to further restrict cold medicine sales, even though the proposal doesn't require prescriptions across the board. Credit: TN Photo Services

TBI director Mark Gwyn speaks with Gov. Bill Haslam looking over his shoulder. Gwyn says he supports the governor’s plan to further restrict cold medicine sales, even though the proposal doesn’t require prescriptions across the board. Credit: TN Photo Services

Cold medicine would become a little tougher to come by under a law proposed by Governor Bill Haslam on Thursday. But in his effort to crackdown on meth cooks in Tennessee, Haslam is stopping short of what police really want. 

Still, the state’s top law enforcement officers stood on a stage in the capitol as their boss outlined his compromise over drugs containing pseudoephedrine.

“This will effectively give Tennessee the lowest limit on purchases of these substances in the United States without resorting to a prescription,” Haslam said, also flanked by a couple dozen state lawmakers. “We as the administration do not choose to go that route.”

Haslam’s plan would allow over-the-counter purchases of medicine like Sudafed for up to 10-days-worth of pills each month. Another 10-day supply would be available with a prescription written on the spot by a pharmacist. Any more would require a physician’s signature.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation director Mark Gwyn has called for following Mississippi and Oregon in making meth ingredients available by prescription only. He says Haslam’s plan will still help.

“You know, none of us can say at this point that this won’t work – and we’re not going to say that,” Gwyn said. “We’re going to get behind this and say let’s get behind this and see what happens.”

Pharmaceutical companies have fought off across-the-board prescription requirements in Tennessee. Governor Haslam says he talked to the industry about his middle-of-the-road plan but didn’t get an endorsement.

Thursday afternoon, Washington-based Consumer Healthcare Products Association released a statement:

“We commend Governor Haslam and other Tennessee leaders for their desire to address the state’s methamphetamine problem, but the legislation proposed today would burden law-abiding Tennesseans – particularly those who suffer from frequent allergy symptoms.”

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