Monday, December 29, 2014

Montana, West Virginia among states considering laws to fight methamphetamine production

State lawmakers in Montana will consider a bill to create a database for purchases of pseudoephedrine or ephedrine—ingredients used to make methamphetamine—while a task force in West Virginia is recommending for the second time that state lawmakers require a doctor's prescription to purchase cold medicines used to make meth.

Montana has already enacted rules limiting purchases of pseudoephedrine or ephedrine to nine grams over a 30-day period, but without a database, officials say it's impossible to stop smurfing—when people frequent multiple pharmacies to purchase large quantities, Scott Zoltan reports for KECI in Missoula. Senate Bill 48, which has the support of the Montana Department of Justice, would connect the state to NPLEx, a system already used in 25 states to track purchases of cold medicine.

Meth has been a rampant problem in West Virginia, with officials seizing 290 labs this year, the third highest total in state history, Eric Eyre reports for The Charleston Gazette. Despite the number of busts being down from a record 531 last year, the Kanawha County Commission Substance Abuse Task Force said meth remains a problem in the state and the agency recommended that lawmakers require a doctor's prescription to purchase cold medicine with meth-making ingredients.

The task force criticized using NPLEx as a solution, saying drug manufacturers can get around the system by hiring large numbers of people to purchase their monthly limits, Eyre writes. Instead, the task force said the only way to rid the problem is by requiring a doctor's prescription. (Read more)

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