New bill aims to curb meth “epidemic” in Indiana
WTHI TV10, January 3, 2015
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – It’s a ranking Indiana isn’t proud of. In 2013, it had more meth incidents than any other in state in the U.S. The 2014 stats, so far, have it staged to repeat as the nation’s meth capital, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
That’s why a state lawmaker is proposing a new bill aimed at getting rid of that title. Representative Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) hopes to further restrict the amount of pseudoephedrine Hoosiers can buy over the counter. It’s a common decongestant and a main ingredient used the make meth.
Smaltz’s bill would allow customers to purchase 9.6 grams of the ingredient per year over the counter. That’s significantly less than what’s currently allowed by state law.
To put things into perspective Indiana customers can currently buy two, 30-count boxes of 12-hour Claritin D in a month under current Indiana law without a prescription. But under the new bill, they would only be able to buy two and a half boxes of it in a year.
“Oregon, Mississippi, and Missouri have all implemented some variety of pseudoephedrine prescription,” Smaltz said. “In all three of those states, they’ve seen dramatic decreases in the amount of one pot labs discovered.”
But the Indiana Retail Council opposes the bill. It’s president, Grant Monohan, said it would inconvenience too many customers and raise health care costs by forcing more people to get prescriptions.
“The overwhelming majority of our customers in our stores who purchase these products are purchasing them for a legitimate reason, and they ought to be able to continue to do that,” Monohan said.
Sgt. Bob Burgess with the Indiana State Police supports Smaltz’s bill. He said Indiana is currently suffering from a meth epidemic, and that calls for desperate measures.
“Anything towards the restriction of pseudoephedrine is a good thing from a law enforcement standpoint,” Burgess said.
Smaltz’ bill would also create stricter charges for dealing and possessing meth, especially around children. He hopes to introduce it in a couple of weeks.