OBN reports meth labs in Oklahoma have increased 1200% in the last decade. It also reports that since Oregon passed its prescribed pseudoephedrine law in 2006 meth lab seizures have not been connected to prescribed pseudoephedrine.
Local law enforcement pushing to make pseudoephedrine a prescription say the proposed HB 1235 will not be voted on the House floor. It made it out of the Public Safety committee but it didn't make today's deadline to be placed on the calendar.
The spokesperson states corporate officials with pharmaceutical companies and people with allergies showed up at the capitol to oppose Oklahoma’s proposed prescribed pseudoephedrine law. He also states that there are 16 other states pushing to for a similar law.
A cold that you can’t shake and you don’t want to go to the doctor so you go to your local pharmacy for over-the counter medicine with pseudoephedrine.
Oklahoma’s meth epidemic has forced lawmakers to pass laws that require you show state identification when purchasing pseudoephedrine at a pharmacy and you can only purchase so much at in one month.
Now, local police and Oklahoma district attorneys are pushing for prescribed pseudoephedrine to purchase the key ingredient commonly found in cold medicine and a key ingredient to make meth.
Today, House Bill 1235 which changes pseudoephedrine from a Scheduled V drug to a Schedule III drug passed the Public Safety committee.
FOX23’s Abbie Alford explains a proposal that would make pseudoephedrine available only through a doctor’s prescription.
A burning throat, stuff nose and painful allergies, all symptoms that over-the-counter pseudoephedrine can help relieve.
"This is really the only thing I have in stock," says Apothecary Shoppe pharmacist D.J. Lees.
The compounding pharmacy says meth makers are still trying to shop for the key ingredient to make the addictive drug.
"We typically get those calls, ‘hey do you have pseudoephedrine? I am on my way in.’ I tell them, ‘no we don't have it it's not something that we have in stock,’" says Lees.
He supports the proposed prescribed pseudoephedrine law.
“When we require a prescription for that we would be able to weed out the patients that use that to make methamphetamine we get the patients that have legitimate usage for pseudoephedrine," says Lees.
Not everyone agrees.
“Why do we have to get punished because they are going to find a way around it,” says Rochelle Caudill.
She works in the healthcare industry like Dr. David Murr but he’s still on the fence about the prescribed proposal.
"It's reasonable but it will be another hurdle for patients to deal with," says Murr. "I don't know if it will fix it, I definitely understand the intent. I think it's a reasonable idea to try.
He sees patients at St. Johns’ Urgent Care and is concerned about patients without healthcare.
Current laws say you can’t purchase more than nine grams of pseudoephedrine in a 30-day period and you must show state identification.
There’s also a registry banning offenders convicted of meth crimes to purchase the cold medicine.
Another Tulsan also has mixed feelings.
"I can see that it would inconvenience the public too much it puts everyone in a bad position," says Shawn Martin.
The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs reports meth lab seizures statewide dramatically increased in 2009 to 743 meth lab seizures from the average of 165 between 2005 and 2008
"You got to go back and find the root cause if you will and find out why they are making it to begin with and if you keep adding to it and adding to it and it's really not solving any problems," says Caudill
However, pharmacists like Lees says anything to strengthen the law would help.
"This is the for the betterment of the public health and public safety getting meth off the street. I don't want that for my children," says Lees.
Gel caps and liquids with pseudoephedrine would be exempt from this proposal.
FOX23 News has learned that Tulsa and Claremore police and the Tulsa County District Attorney went in front of the House Public Safety Committee to help get the proposed law passed.
HB 1235 now goes to the House floor for a vote.
In 2006, Oregon passed a similar law and officials says meth busts have plummeted since then. Last year Mississippi also passed a similar prescribed pseudoephedrine law.
A spokesperson for the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office released that in 2008, there were 101 charges filed connected to meth crimes including 53 Endeavoring meth, and 48 Manufacturing meth charges.
In 2009, the number of meth charges jumped to 536; Endeavoring, 415 and Manufacturing, 121.
The District Attorney filed 392 charges connected to meth in 2010; Endeavoring , 269 and Manufacturing, 123.
On Thursday, A Tulsa County jury handed a first time offender 20 years in prison for endeavoring to manufacture meth. The Tulsa County Drug Task Force busted a meth lab in Daniel Glassco's bedroom on October 15, 2009. He was cooking meth in his grandmother's home. His elderly, bedridden father also lived there, being confined to a hospital bed and breathing with an oxygen machine. When the Deputies entered they immediately removed everyone from the house for their safety. They could not remove the defendant's extremely ill father, and they testified that if the meth lab had caught the house on fire, they would have had to re-enter the house and carry him outside. They explained to the jury, using household items as demonstrative aids, exactly how Glassco converted Claratin-D into meth by mixing draino, camp fuel, and table salt and other items together.
Neighboring states such as Missouri, Kentucky and Arkansas are working on a similar proposal. Original Headline: "Prescription For Cold Medicine In OK?"