Pharos-Tribune

Columns

February 9, 2014

HOWEY: Meth kids, wounded cops and feral cats

(Continued)

There were 100 law enforcement officials injured in Indiana’s meth industry. Repeat, 100 cops injured.

All of this mayhem and action could make a great Hoosier version of “Breaking Bad,” the TV show that entertained so many of us over the past several years.

How had the Indiana General Assembly dealt with this so far this session?

Three bills that would have required prescriptions for the purchase ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, reclassifying them as controlled substances, appear to have died in the House Public Health and Courts and Criminal Code Committees, and another in Senate Correction & Courts. Only one bill - HB1248 by Rep. Ben Smaltz - got a hearing. It appears there wasn’t enough time to deal with the legislation, the House having been quite busy with the constitutional marriage amendment and feral cat bills.

Terre Haute Police Sgt. Chris Gallagher and Officer Ryan Adamson testified on HB1248 about how rescheduling pseudoephedrine as a controlled substance will reduce the clandestine production of meth. “I don’t think the issue is going to go away,” Gallagher told the Tribune-Star, “and I can only hope that each time I testify, a few more legislators will get turned around on the issue.”

And Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modesitt told the Tribune-Star, “It’s our problem as far as the meth epidemic in this area, and if we can get our local officials to make it prescription-only by local rule, then it takes that decision out of state hands, and we can deal with it here.”

Indiana prosecutors, pubic defenders, police chiefs and the Indiana State Police Alliance all favor the restrictions. The Consumer Health Care Association opposes, and they have a great lobbying team at the Statehouse.

According to Justin Swanson of the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, Tennessee now allows 18 local communities to restrict over-the-counter sales and meth lab production has been reduced between 44 percent and 77 percent in those locales. A Vanderbilt University Poll in December revealed 65 percent support across all party lines.

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