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As you and your seedier friends know, one cannot buy huge amounts of meth ingredients, such as pseudoephedrine
, in the same place at the same time in Missouri. What you can
do, however, is go "smurfing
," i.e., pharmacy-hopping to purchase many small batches.
Well, a bi-partisan pair of state reps -- Republican Scott Lipke
and Democratic minority whip Jeff Roorda
-- want to close that loophole. They've pre-filed a bill
for the next legislative session hoping to restrict the sale of pseudoephedrine and require a prescription for it.
There's a bit of momentum for this kind of thing. The state of Oregon already requires a prescription for pseudoephedrine. Washington, Mo., became the first town in our state to do the same, and has since experienced a huge drop in sales.
Another town in Franklin County -- Union, Mo. -- has passed a similar measure. Though yesterday, it should be noted, nearby Sullivan voted one down.
Jefferson County will conduct a final vote this coming Monday
on its own anti-smurfing ordinance, which county executive Chuck Banks
expects will pass. The ordinance, he tells Daily RFT
require a prescription for pseudoephedrine from a licensed health care
professional, and the prescription may only be filled out at an
"We're never gonna stop the drug
addiction," he says. "That's not what this is about. This is about the
hazardous process of cooking pseudoephedrine, which endangers not just
the meth cooks, but everybody else around. This [ordinance] just
certifies that the purchaser is sick."
Banks says if the measure
goes through, it will only affect the unincorporated areas of Jefferson
County. He plans to help spread it into the municipalities, where he
says it enjoys broad support.
However, he says, "the over-the-counter pharmaceutical lobby is very powerful."
Meanwhile in Jefferson City, Lipke wants to push his bill through the legislature as
soon as the new session opens (attempts last year failed). He deplores the "scare tactics" used by the
drug industry, which he claims have convinced citizens they'll have to
wait in line to see their doctor and then have to fork over the co-pay
just to get a prescription for something they can currently get without
"There are alternative medications currently
available to treat the same symptoms," Lipke insists, adding: "If
you're one of the few people who have to have pseudoephedrine, then it
may be just as simple as calling your doctor for a prescription."
drug industry, according to Lipke, favors a real-time monitoring
system, which would allow pharmacists to identify smurfers as they come
up to the register trying to purchase the drug over-the-counter. Lipke
says he's entertained that idea, but remains skeptical it would work as
well as his prescription-requirement legislation.
"Missouri is number one in meth lab incidents," he says. "We should be ashamed of that."
Check out the text of his proposed House bill here