Haslam: Less Restrictive Meth Bill Won’t Make A Dent

Lawmakers have made numerous attempts over the years to get Tennessee off the list of top states for methamphetamine. Even Gov. Haslam's more restrictive proposal stops short of the approach favored by police and reviled by the pharmaceutical industry: requiring a prescription for pseudoephedrine. Credit: Tennessee Photo Services

Lawmakers have made numerous attempts over the years to get Tennessee off the list of top states for methamphetamine. Even Gov. Haslam’s more restrictive proposal stops short of the approach favored by police and reviled by the pharmaceutical industry: requiring a prescription for pseudoephedrine. Credit: Tennessee Photo Services

Gov. Bill Haslam wants state lawmakers to do things his way when it comes to tamping down on Tennessee’s meth problem.

This week a House subcommittee sidelined the governor’s proposal to restrict access to the cold medicine used to make meth.

Haslam wants to limit people to about a two months’ supply each year of the medicine, known as pseudoephedrine.  Instead, the House bill moving forward would allow more like seven months’ worth—too high an amount to meaningfully crimp the supply for meth cooks.

“What’s that, three and a half times higher than ours?” Haslam said, underscoring the gravity of the state’s meth problem: “The heart of it is, we have a whole group of our citizens whose lives are being ruined.”

But House Speaker Beth Harwell defended the move to push ahead with the less restrictive measure, saying there was “just a level of discomfort that the governor’s bill maybe went too far for the average consumer of this medication.”

Both Harwell and the governor emphasized the bill still has a ways to go, and lawmakers could well change it further.

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