Handling the meth problem
June 10, 2008
Legislation in 2005 was passed that required that all products containing pseudoephedrine or ephedrine be located behind pharmacy counters for resale. Thus, those who were consigned to buying the meth-making ingredient had to stagger to a pharmacy window, sniffling and sneezing or requesting the product for a very sick relative. The pharmacies were also required to maintain purchase logs and make them available for inspection to law enforcement, information seldom if ever requested. And phone calls to law enforcement regarding obvious meth abusers were usually met with a yawn.

Recently, Gov. Matt Blunt signed HB 2022, sponsored by Rep. Alan Icet (R-84), resuscitating the Missouri Sheriff's Methamphetamine Relief Team (MoSMART) by providing more than $1.8 million in supplemental funding after federal support had been rescinded. Ask any one of these agents and they would have bemoaned a major problem: that abusers are back on the streets after a bust almost in less time than you can blink.

Now comes SB 724 introduced by Sen. Delbert Scott (R-28) and signed into law by the Missouri governor. It allows advanced practice registered nurses who hold a certificate of controlled substance prescriptive authority from the board of nursing further leeway in prescribing controlled substance prescriptions.

What Blunt wants to brag about is that SB 724 also creates an electronic tracking system of the purchase of pseudoephedrine in real-time that will alert the seller if that purchaser is over the daily or monthly limit, thus, cutting down on meth makers or their representative buyers jumping from store to store to make their purchases. The log currently maintained by pharmacists is modified to now include the signature of the purchaser, the name of the product and the time of the purchase.

The act modifies the current gram limits for the sale of pseudoephedrine products. The act provides that the limits do not apply to quantities that must be sold, dispensed or distributed in a pharmacy under a valid prescription. The current 30 day period limit of 9 grams to a person applies without regard to the number of transactions. Within a twenty-four hour period, no person may obtain more than 3.6 grams without regard to the number of transactions.

The act repeals provisions that exempted the liquid and liquid-filled gel capsule forms of pseudoephedrine from record keeping and log maintenance requirements.

Also, for reasons not exactly clear the bill requires that anyone licensed to sell these products submit information about the sale to the Department of Health and Senior Services but without jeopardizing patient confidentiality. Huh?

One pharmacy tech was overheard handling the problem without government intervention. Slurring his words in requesting the product, one white trash fellow was told, no, we don't have the quantity that you are asking for. See ya.

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