Several pharmacies around Green Country are now following one pharmacist’s lead to help stop meth cooks.
"To me it is an easy situation, we are not getting rich off of pseudoephedrine anyway,” says Inola Drug Owner Drew Turner.
The pharmacist also owns Catoosa Family Pharmacy and Elliot Plaza Pharmacy in Pryor.
FOX23 News reported this week his efforts to help stop meth cooks by requiring a prescription for all nasal decongestants with pseudoephedrine.
It’s the key ingredient to make meth.
Today another independent pharmacy in Pryor, Beggs Pharmacy, is doing the same.
The mayor of Pryor tells FOX23 News he has changed his proposed ordinance to include a prescription for all pseudoephedrine sales and not excludes gel tabs.
Since lawmakers failed to pass a similar law Holdenville, Choteau, Wagoner and McAlester have passed local ordinances requiring a script for pseudoephedrine that excludes gel tabs.
FOX23’s Abbie Alford reports on why pharmacies are taking a stand against meth.
The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (OBN) reports in 2010 there were 13,109 pseudoephedrine sales, that’s more than the town’s 2009 estimated population. The agency also reports in 2010 1,654 pseudoephedrine sales were denied.
(see attached table 2010 Green Country Pseudoephedrine Sales statistics from OBN including Catoosa, Inola, Coweta, Glenpool, Kellyville, Beggs)
When pharmacist Drew Turner heard meth labs plummeted in Oregon after a state law required a prescription for pseudoephedrine he said he was on board.
"I think if you restrict it to prescription only it's going to do a huge service to everybody,” says Turner.
So he put a sign warning customers a doctor’s prescription is required for pseudoephedrine.
He owns the only pharmacy in Inola.
"Ultimately it comes back to personal responsibility, the government can't do everything for you and I think people like Drew are stepping out there and protecting their home towns,” says Inola Drug customer Clint Russell.
Turner says he knows a meth cook when he sees on and a smurf too. Smurfs are slang for someone the cooks hire to purchase pseudoephedrine. Police say some smurfs get paid $100 a box.
"I had a lady in here Friday, I've never seen her before from Claremore, what is she doing here from Claremore? So I asked if she was in town for Hay Day, and she said no I'm just in town,” says Turner.
It’s cases like this that police say give Northeastern Oklahoma a bad name, “The Meth Capital of the Nation.”
Since lawmakers failed to approve a similar bill that requires a script of nasal decongestant Claremore man David Starkey, Gelcapsstopmeth.com, has been on a crusade for cities to pass an ordinance requiring a prescription for the key ingredient to make meth but exclude gel tabs.
However, Turner is not waiting for the government and says many local doctors are on board.
"I said I'm going to be calling you for Sudafed scripts are going to be okay with that? And he said yeah as long as they don't have high blood pressure,” says Turner.
Customers also say they don’t mind the inconvenience.
"It's protection of people,” says Inola Drug customer Dawn Staats.
Customers understand it may be tougher for people without insurance but says this is the first step in helping to stop the meth epidemic in Oklahoma.
"There are a lot of problems in our society that if the public would step forward and do something things would change,” says Russell.
Turner says the other independent pharmacy in Pryor, The Cross, is also on board to require a script for pseudoephedrine. The spokesperson for The Cross tells FOX23 News since the mayor told him the proposed ordinance is expected to be approved within the next month, he will phase in a prescription for pseudoephedrine within 30 days. He says he is calling the doctors of patients that already take medication with pseudo in them so that he can have a script on hand for when the change is made, to make it easier on his customers.
OBN reports in 2010 Pryor was in the top 17 cities in Oklahoma for pseudoephedrine sales.
Pryor’s Mayor Jimmy Tramel says he hopes his city will be next on the list to require a prescription for the cold medicine.
He hopes it will pass in the next month.