Pubdate: Thu, 24 Feb 2005
Source: Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)
Copyright: 2005 Lexington Herald-Leader
Author: Bruce Schreiner, Associated Press
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Lawmakers Target Meth Ingredients, Online Drug Sales

FRANKFORT - With the blessing of Kentucky's top law enforcement
officials, a House panel yesterday merged two bills aimed at curtailing
illicit production of methamphetamine and limiting the ability of
Internet pharmacies to ship addictive prescription pills into the state.

The combined legislation cleared the Judiciary Committee despite
concerns from some members that some parts of it could weaken civil
liberties. It drew no dissenting votes and was sent to the full House
for a vote.

Attorney General Greg Stumbo, who proposed regulating online
pharmaceutical sales, called drug abuse a "cancer" spreading across
Kentucky. He predicted that the dual bill would help curb the
availability among abusers of both types of drugs.

Lt. Gov. Steve Pence, who is secretary of the Justice Cabinet and
championed the original anti-meth legislation, also endorsed combining
the bills.

In an effort to stem the growth of home-built meth labs, the bill
would limit sales of one form of an over-the-counter cold medicine
that is a primary ingredient in most formulas.

A person could buy no more than about 300 tablets of products
containing ephedrine or the decongestant pseudoeph-edrine a month.
Liquid or gel-cap forms wouldn't be restricted.

People buying the tablets would have to show identification and sign
for them. Stores would have to keep supplies behind a counter or in a

Rep. Robin Webb, D-Gray-son, worried that the bill would allow
warrantless searches by law enforcement officers of the sales logs.
She said she appreciated the effort to combat meth production but
added, "I'm not going to sacrifice civil liberties, either."

Pence said "If we're not going to make any sacrifices, then we are not
going to make any headway on this problem that is devastating our state."

The bill also would set new legal standards that could help
prosecutors seeking meth-making convictions.

The Internet prescription proposal would require state licensing of
on-line pharmacies and make it a felony, punishable by up to 10 years
in prison, for unlicensed ones to ship drugs into Kentucky.

It also would allow authorities to seize prescriptions ordered from
unlicensed online pharmacies.

The online drug bill earlier this week passed the full House 97-0 on
its own. The meth bill previously passed the Senate 34-0.
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