Legislators wanting to pass a bill that would make the key component to make methamphetamine available only by prescription are now willing to make a concession that they would not accept last week.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said "supporters of the bill are considering excluding cold medicines in gel or liquid capsule form," the Lexington Herald-Leader's Beth Musgrave reports. It is more difficult to extract pseudoephedrine in cold medicines that come in gel or liquid capsule form, though it's unclear how much more difficult.
When Kentucky Health News first broached the idea to the bill's sponsor, Sen. Tom Jensen, R-London, last week, Jensen said he was not willing to make comprises on the bill, though it lacked the votes to pass the Senate. Now he seems to have had a change of heart. "If that would get it passed, we would certainly do it," said Jensen, right. "I have not talked to enough people yet who have said that would change their minds."
Democratic Rep. Linda Belcher of Shepherdsville, who has a similar bill in the House, said the change would help, because more legislators would vote for it because there would still be some cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine, which helps combat symptoms from allergies, on the market.
Drug industry lobbyists, however, rejected the compriomise. "According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, PSE (pseudoephedrine) in gel cap or liquid formations is 'readily extractible,' meaning it can still be used illegally to make meth," said Elizabeth Funderburk, a spokeswoman for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.
Senate Bill 45 would make ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and phenylproppanolamine available only by prescription. It is similar to legislation that has passed in Oregon and Mississippi, where there has reportedly been a radical drop in the incidence of meth labs. The bill has been repeatedly passed over since being approved 6-4 by the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Read more)