Pubdate: Thu, 03 Mar 2005
Source: Oak Ridger (TN)
Copyright: 2005 The Oak Ridger
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Gov. Phil Bredesen's comprehensive legislative package aimed at
fighting the scourge of methamphetamine in Tennessee represents a
major step forward and should easily win the support of lawmakers on
both sides of the aisle. Lawmakers should move quickly to approve it
so it can be signed into law.

The problems presented by meth are undeniable. The drug is cheap, easy
to make and highly addictive. In the last few years, it has spread
like wildfire throughout Tennessee.

Bredesen's package attempts to deal with the meth epidemic on a number
of fronts. It would:

- - Limit the sale of cold and sinus products containing
pseudoephedrine, one of the main ingredients in meth. Many
pseudoephedrine products would be placed behind the pharmacy counter
and could only be dispensed by a pharmacist. Customers wanting to buy
those products would have to show ID.

- - Require health professionals to report meth lab-related burns and
injuries to law enforcement.

Of particular importance is the requirement that pseudoephedrine be
dispensed by a pharmacist. While that may seem like an added
inconvenience to the average consumer, it may be the single most
important thing we can do to get a handle on this problem. In
Oklahoma, which has a similar law, the number of meth lab busts has
declined 80 percent.

This initiative also is important because it takes a realistic
approach to the problem. Not only does it deal with some of the
inconsistencies in the current law, it makes this battle more of a
team effort by forging a partnership between doctors and the police.

That kind of team effort is what it's going to take to turn the tide
in the battle against meth. With this initiative, we would take a big
step in the right direction.
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