Pubdate: Fri, 21 Jan 2005
Source: Messenger-Inquirer (KY)
Copyright: 2005 Messenger-Inquirer
Author: David Blackburn, Messenger-Inquirer
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


A proposed Senate bill that would allow certain over-the-counter cold 
medicines known to be used in methamphetamine production to be sold only by 
a pharmacist sounds familiar to state Rep. Brent Yonts.

That's because the pre-filed bill from Sen. Tom Jensen, a London 
Republican, is similar to one the Greenville Democrat filed during the 2004 
General Assembly, he said.

But Yonts' bill failed in part because of lobbying by retail merchants and 
the state Justice Cabinet, both of which said steps could be taken without 
a law, Yonts said.

"I haven't filed any bills this time because everybody up there opposed 
them last time," Yonts said Thursday.

"I'm tired of officialdom opposing issues that are good issues and will 
help solve problems," he said.

A similar effort in Oklahoma has been "very successful" in fighting meth, 
he said. He cited an Associated Press story, which was published in 
Thursday's Messenger-Inquirer, about that state's success in lowering the 
number of meth lab seizures.

Like Yonts' bill, Jansen's Senate Bill 56 would require medicines 
containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine -- two common ingredients in meth 
- -- be kept off shelves.

Only a licensed pharmacist could sell the drugs, and only to buyers with a 
photo identification who signed a receipt or record book detailing the 

A pharmacist could not sell, nor could an individual buy, more than 24 
tablets in a 24-hour period.

"The arguments of retail merchants was it would be a burden the average 
retail merchant couldn't handle," said Yonts, who thinks they also will 
oppose Jansen's bill.

Last year, Yonts also filed other meth-related bills.

One would create an awareness and education plan about meth as a fall-back 
in case the proposal to take medicines off shelves fell through, he said.

Another proposed building fences around distribution centers for anhydrous 
ammonia, another common meth ingredient.

Those two efforts also were opposed and eventually died.

Another proposal would have created a two-tier level of guilt for meth 
manufacturing depending on the number of ingredients or equipment the maker 
possessed at the time of arrest.

That bill was weakened so much Yonts pulled his name from it, he said.

"I'm still kind of frustrated," Yonts said.

"I have not filed a single one this time because (Lt. Gov. Steve Pence) 
said he was going to have a summit, he was going to have proposals," he said.

Pence and Justice members conducted statewide summits last year about the 
meth issue.

"I'm waiting on the lieutenant governor to see what he wanted to do on his 
task force issues," Yonts said. "They did say they would come back to me on 
some of my bills, but so far they haven't."
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