Pseudoephedrine debate: Should a prescription be required? - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Pseudoephedrine debate: Should a prescription be required?

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Sgt. Stan Salyards Sgt. Stan Salyards
Jim Waters Jim Waters
Major Tony King Major Tony King

By Katie Bauer email | bio

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Meth is a growing problem across Kentucky and it has even prompted lawmakers in the state Senate and House to file bills that would require a prescription for certain cold medications such as Sudafed.

While pseudoephedrine is found in some sinus medications, it is also used in the illegal manufacture of methamphetamine.

While most will tell you meth is a growing problem, where people seem to disagree is how to combat it.

Ask Sgt. Stanley Salyards with the Louisville Metro Police Department what the answer is to fix the meth problem in Kentucky and he'll tell you prescriptions are the key. He points to the state of Oregon, where this law went into effect in 2006.

"Last year, they had 12 meth labs and we had over 1000," said Salyards. "The year before that they had 13 meth labs, we had over 700."

Jim Waters with the Bluegrass Institute says while it is an issue, it's a concentrated problem.

"Half of the meth making operations are limited to six counties and in 44 counties, there is no problem, so why do want to punish law-abiding citizens just because we have a handful of criminals in a few concentrated places that are doing bad things," said Waters.

According to State Representative Linda Belcher, the bill's sponsor, this shouldn't be considered a punishment. She says this law would only eliminate immediate access to 15 cold medications.

"There are hundreds of other alternatives on the shelves right now," said Salyards.

Salyards says many law enforcement agencies in the state are in favor of scheduling this drug, but Major Tony King with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office says if this law is passed, officers would lose access to the electronic tracking tools that are in place right now.

"Everybody is concerned about prescription drug abuse, so we are going to put another item under prescription and I feel it would just join the list of abused prescription drugs," said King.

Kentucky pediatrician and former pharmacist Dr. Donald Neel believes the current electronic tracking system is working well and with prescriptions that tracking system would be eliminated.

Sgt. Salyards says the system right now is not working and leads to smurfing and the use of fake IDs.

 (Copyright 2011 WAVE News. All rights reserved.)