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The Issue: Pseudoephedrine bill
Our view: Adding inconvenience, cost
Suffering from a sinus condition? You may have an even bigger headache if Senate Bill 45 passes the Kentucky General Assembly.
As it stands, the proposed bill would require medicines containing pseudoephedrine to be available by prescription only. The goal is taking away ease of access for those purchasing the now over-the-counter cold medications, which are used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.
Doing so also would result in increased doctor visits, lost wages and unnecessary money spent on co-pays by people who have found sinus pain relief from cold medications containing pseudoephedrine and rely on its ease of access as a non-prescription remedy.
Allergy and sinus medicines containing pseudoephedrine sold without a prescription already are kept behind the pharmacy counter and available only after providing a drivers license or similar ID. The purchase quantity is limited thanks to a 2006 federal mandate also aimed at preventing legitimate cold medication from becoming central to manufacturing highly addictive meth.
Four years later, the meth mess is further inflamed. Kentucky experienced its highest number of meth labs last year when law enforcement reported 1,010 found. Hardin County had 53 labs found, placing it in the top five Kentucky counties last year. Not the bragging rights we really want.
States such as Mississippi and Oregon passed legislation to move cold medications containing pseudoephedrine to prescription level. As a result, they are reporting a decline in the number of meth labs.
While many chemicals have been used in the process of manufacturing methamphetamines, it seems that pseudoephedrine faces the most regulatory scrutiny. Limiting its availability provides legislators with a means to try to rid the country of these bootleg chemical labs and a dangerous and addictive product.
There is no argument that something needs to be done to stop meth manufacturing and use in our area. If restricting pseudoephedrine products to prescription availability is the only way to impact the issue, then perhaps it is worth the price. We need to remain cognizant, however, of the penalties we are imposing on individual consumers who rely on the medication for legitimate uses at a time when rising health-care costs are creating financial hardships on working families.
The misdeeds of a few could result in legislation to limit access for all. It’s a shame those who have been purchasing pseudoephedrine products to manufacture an illegal drug have created the need to decrease availability of something designed to alleviate allergy and sinus symptoms.
If this bill is passed into law, people who follow the rules of society once again will be forced to pay for the abuses and misuses of others.
This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.