11:45am

Fri March 2, 2012
State Capitol

Meth Crack Down Bill Okayed by Senate

A bill regulating the amount of certain cold medicines consumers can buy over the counter has passed the State Senate. The bill is intended to crack down on meth users, who use cold medicine to make the illegal drug. Senate Bill 3 passed after an amendment raised the monthly pseudoephedrine allotment to seven point two grams per month—or the equivalent of two boxes of medicine. Previously the bill had been prescription only, then limited over-the-counter purchase to three point six grams a month.

 Senator Robert Stivers was the bill’s main supporter. He says he wants tougher restrictions on PSE, but agreed to the compromise.

“I am not satisfied with the floor amendment. But I understand it is a reasoned compromise and that’s what this process is about,” Stivers says.

Republican Sen. Julie Denton voted against the bill. She says she sees the vote as one that will open the floodgates to stricter proposals.

“I think based upon numerous floor speeches that have been given here by supporters of the bill that they intend to come back later and adjust the amount by prescription. So I think this is a slippery slope," she says.

Others wondered why lawmakers were taking one problem, meth abuse, and potentially turning it into a prescription pill problem, another scourge.

The bill will allow anyone who needs more than the regulated dosage of PSE to get more medicine with a prescription. People who have drug convictions in the last five years will be blocked from buying pseudoephedrine.

The bill now goes to the House, where it has some support.