Pubdate: Wed, 16 Feb 2005
Source: Messenger-Inquirer (KY)
Section: In My View
Copyright: 2005 Messenger-Inquirer
Author: Gov. Ernie Fletcher
Note: Ernie Fletcher is governor of Kentucky.
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Recently, I met a man from western Kentucky named Charlie. Charlie's life 
revolved around a powerful vice that is gripping many Kentucky families and 
the communities in which they live.

Methamphetamine use and manufacturing is sweeping the commonwealth. It is 
easy to purchase, highly addictive and cheap to manufacture. From 1998 to 
2004, the number of meth labs discovered in Kentucky increased by 3,000 
percent, from 19 to 579. In the past two years, nearly 150 children have 
been in the presence of labs. Labs have been found in 89 of our 120 counties.

The first time Charlie made meth, he purchased all of the pseudoephedrine 
tablets available on a store's shelf, and no one questioned him. 
Pseudoephedrine, commonly found in over-the-counter cold and allergy 
medicines, is the key component in meth production.

Charlie told me how methamphetamine devastated not only his life but also 
the lives of those around him. People will do the unthinkable for this 
addiction, even hurt those they love.

But Charlie's story is one with a silver lining. Today, Charlie is making 
positive steps toward recovery. He is doing well and looks forward to 
sharing his experiences with other meth addicts. Most addicts, however, are 
not as fortunate as Charlie.

Meth destroys a person's physical and mental well-being. It causes dramatic 
weight loss, anxiety, hallucinations, and manic depression, all of which 
can lead to suicidal tendencies. Long-term health problems may include 
increased risk of stroke and heart attacks.

Our administration recognizes the severity of this problem and has launched 
a comprehensive strategy to combat this epidemic. Senate Bill 63, sponsored 
by Sen. Robert Stivers (R-Manchester), would effectively address the meth 
crisis spreading across the commonwealth.

Senate Bill 63 would restrict the sale of pseudoephedrine tablets to 
pharmacies, limit the amount customers could purchase to 9 grams -- which 
is about 300 pills -- within a 30-day period and require identification and 
a signature for the medication.

We have seen the impact of similar legislation in states across the nation. 
For example, Oklahoma began regulating pseudoephedrine in April 2004. 
Consequently, the number of meth labs has been virtually cut in half.

Senate Bill 63 would also make it a felony to endanger children's lives by 
allowing them to be in the presence of meth production. Penalties may range 
from one year to life in prison, depending on the extent of the child's 

In addition, Senate Bill 63 would allow law enforcement officers the 
ability to arrest individuals if they are in possession of the necessary 
items for meth production.

Like Charlie, this legislation marks a positive step toward recovery. I 
hope you will join with me in support of Senate Bill 63. I urge you to call 
your local state senator and state representative to ask them to support 
this effort to break the cycle of addiction and restore hope to Kentucky 
families caught in the perils of methamphetamine dependence.
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MAP posted-by: Beth