Pubdate: Thu, 31 Jan 2008
Source: Columbia Missourian (MO)
Copyright: 2008 Columbia Missourian
Authors: Bria Scudder, and Rebecca Beitsch
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


JEFFERSON CITY - Sen. Chris Koster, a candidate for  attorney general,
proposed a bill Thursday to crack  down on methamphetamine use and
production from several  angles.

"We need an approach that addresses methamphetamines on a criminal
justice front, on the educational front and  on the treatment front,"
Koster said at a press  conference Thursday.

The bill that was filed Thursday morning would require mandatory
substance abuse treatment for anyone  convicted of possession of
methamphetamines as well as  a potential child endangerment charge if
a user shares  their home with children.

"You'll never have to worry about lipstick on your  teeth again," read
a poster next to Sen. Koster that was cropped to show only a young
girl's mouth, her lips chapped and blistered with blood, her teeth
crooked and  rotting. All this was the result of persistent 
methamphetamine use.

This poster would be only a small part of the bill's effort in a
methamphetamines education project, which  aims to raise awareness of
the drugs' dangers and hinder their use.

Koster said he hopes to stop the drugs' use by  monitoring sales of
pseudoephedrine, the active  ingredient in many sinus and cold
medications. If  enacted, this would require people to provide 
identification in addition to their name, address and  date of birth.
Pharmacists or dispensers of the drug  would be required to record
this information along with  the quantity of the drug dispensed and
the source of  payment for the drug, in addition to other

Currently pharmacists must keep products containing  pseudoephedrine
behind the counter. There is a limit on how much people can purchase,
and they must show a  photo ID. All this is recorded in a paper log.

One pharmacist said the additional requirements  Koster's bill would
require would not be difficult to implement because they are the same
as existing  requirements for prescription drugs. Pharmacists would 
be required to follow the same procedures for drugs containing
pseudoephedrine as for filling a standard prescription, said Bill
Morrissey, pharmacist and  co-owner of Kilgore's Medical Pharmacy in

Koster's bill would also enact harsher penalties for those who deal
methamphetamines, as well as provide more funds to law enforcement to
attract and maintain  staff.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Tim Hull said methamphetamines
are harder to detect in rural areas.  He also said that anhydrous
ammonia, used as a  fertilizer and iodine crystals used in handling
farm  animals, are also used in making methamphetamines.

"For the first time, this legislation proposes  mandatory minimum
sentencing in the area of  methamphetamines production," Hull said.

Although there has been legislation to try and control the use of
methamphetamines, it is a continuing  struggle to get it off the
streets. "Criminals don't  have anything to do but sit around and
figure out how  to get around laws," Hull said. "You've got a very 
addictive drug that's cheaper than a lot of the other  drugs. ... The
high lasts a lot longer."

Morrissey said that many methamphetamine producers will visit several
stores in one day, knowing they can only get two bottles of Sudafed
at each store.

"They go to Kilgore's, then to Walgreens, then to D and  H (pharmacy).
They have their cohorts do the same,"  Morrissey said.

Morrissey said pharmacies will call each other to give warning of
suspicious characters but said computerized  central record keeping
would make it much easier to  avoid selling pseudoephedrine to the
frequent buyers.
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