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February 23, 2014

THEIR VIEW: Meth is too dangerous for legislators

We’ve said it before, but the point cannot be stated enough. Methamphetamine is a highly addictive, dangerous drug that is ruining our rural communities, and state lawmakers cannot continue to ignore the problem.

Proposals to make a key ingredient used to make meth a prescription drug have, once again, gone nowhere in this General Assembly session, despite the fact that four bills were filed this session to tackle the issue.

The perception is that meth is not a statewide issue, but that it’s limited to certain regions of the state, which is why some lawmakers say they’re reluctant to take on the issue that would make over-the-counter products containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine available only with a prescription.

Yet, the numbers tell a different tale.

Last year, the Indiana State Police Methamphetamine Suppression Section broke up 1,808 meth labs throughout the state. Only one county — Porter — was reported to have no meth labs. Porter is a part of ISP District 13, which reported the least amount of meth labs last year with 41 labs in the seven-county district.

Other counties and districts weren’t so fortunate. ISP District 22, which includes Allen, Noble and Dekalb counties, reported 270 labs, the most in the state. Our district, which includes Lawrence, Monroe, Brown, Greene, Morgan and Owen counties, reported 124 labs, but those are just the ISP numbers and doesn’t include the labs broken up by local law enforcement agencies.

Clearly, meth is a statewide issue.

And all the research points to the fact that, if those cold medicines were made available only with a prescription, the meth issue would all but go away as it has in other states, including Oregon and Mississippi, but lawmakers seem to be turning a deaf ear to the pleas of prosecutors and police who believe the law is imperative in order to curb the drug issue.

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