Pubdate: Thu, 27 Jan 2005
Source: Messenger-Inquirer (KY)
Copyright: 2005 Messenger-Inquirer
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


A fine line exists between the erosion of personal freedoms and sacrificing 
convenience for the sake of better security.

It's an issue that Kentuckians -- and specifically state legislators -- are 
facing when it comes to stopping the spread of methamphetamine throughout 
our communities.

There's nothing illegal about the ingredients used to make the drug and, in 
fact, most are items that many of us frequently have lying around the 
house. But when mixed together, they form an insidious concoction that is 
tearing apart families, draining law enforcement resources and turning 
towns upside down.

So the question becomes: Are we willing to restrict access to some of these 
items if it would mean a decrease in the amount of meth being produced 
throughout Kentucky?

Last year, Rep. Brent Yonts, a Greenville Democrat, filed a bill that would 
have required medicines that contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine -- 
precursors used to make meth -- be sold only by licensed pharmacists and 
only to buyers who have photo identification. A similar bill has been filed 
this year in the Senate.

We think this is a sacrifice worth making, and we would encourage 
legislators to pass this bill. But just as some stores have voluntarily 
restricted access to pseudoephedrine, some drug companies are taking it 
upon themselves to help make a difference as well.

Pfizer, the maker of Sudafed, began this month offering a new version of 
that medication called Sudafed PE, which does not contain pseudoephedrine. 
Kentucky should make sure that it doesn't pass a law so encompassing that 
it also restricts these new medications that don't actually contain 

If one looks at what's happening here and compares the situation to 
communities that have passed similar legislation, it's clear that Kentucky 
needs this law.

The law enforcement agencies in Owensboro and Daviess County are some of 
the most committed you'll find anywhere, and they are especially 
knowledgeable about methamphetamine. They're doing the best they can, but 
as Daviess County Sheriff Keith Cain has said in the past, they're just 
"treading water," managing the mayhem the best they can with the resources 

They need some help, and this legislation offers such hope. Oklahoma passed 
a law last April similar to the one Kentucky is considering. Since that 
time, the average number of monthly meth lab busts has dropped from 105 to 
19, the Associated Press reported last week.

Imagine what a similar drop in meth production would mean for this region? 
Meth plays a role in so many community problems, from crime and 
bankruptcies to divorce and domestic violence.

We hope residents are willing to support this legislation and make some 
sacrifices in the short term so that we can eventually start ridding 
Kentucky's communities of this terrible drug.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth