Monday, March 5, 2012

Anti-meth bill passes Senate; limits monthly pseudoephedrine purchases to 7.2 grams a month and 24 grams a year

In an effort to curb methamphetamine production, the Senate passed a bill Friday that will limit the amount of pseudoephedrine that can be bought monthly and annually.

Senate Bill 3, approved 25-11, will allow consumers to buy 7.2 grams of medicine containing pseudoephedrine per month and up to 24 grams per year. The bill now goes to the House for consideration. House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said House members generally support what the bill is trying to accomplish but want to study its details, report Jack Brammer and Beth Musgrave of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Right now Kentuckians are allowed to buy 9 grams per month and 120 grams per year. Sen. Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, sponsored the bill, which originally only allowed the purchase of 3.6 grams per month and 15 grams per year. That changed after Sen. Jerry Rhoads, D-Madisonville, filed an amendment that increased the limit to the 7.2 and 24 grams. (Associated Press photo by the late Ed Reinke of Sen. Stivers)

The bill also prohibits anyone who has been convicted of a drug-related offense from buying the drug for five years. Pseudoephedrine, which is in several cold and allergy medicines, is the key ingredient to make meth. The bill does not pertain to pseudoephedrine that comes in gel or liquid format; meth is more difficult to make using these formulations.

"I still don't think it's the best situation," Stivers said of the revised bill. "It's what we could get passed. Let's see what this does."

Opponents, namely the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, were "disappointed with the outcome of the vote," said Scott Melville CHPA president and chief executive. "CHPA is committed to working with legislators to win the battle against methamphetamine, but gaining the upper hand against meth producers and dealers does not require unnecessary restrictions imposed on many Kentucky families — particularly seasonal allergy sufferers — by burdening them with increased health-care costs, lost wages, and unnecessary trips to the doctor."

The CHPA represents makers of over-the-counter drugs and is continuing a vigorous and expensive campaign of lobbying and radio commercials to defeat the bill. (Read more)

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