Law enforcement takes on meth methods - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Law enforcement takes on meth methods

By Mike McDaniel - bio | email 

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The next time you need cold medicine containing the decongestant pseudoephedrine, your first stop may now have to be your doctor and not your usual drug store.

"It's a small price to pay for a little better control of the ingredient that we need to have a better handle on," said Forrest County Sheriff Bill McGee.

McGee joined a handful of other law enforcement officers at the state capitol supporting two bills which would make pseudoephedrine a schedule three drug, therefore requiring a prescription for anyone to get it.

Anyone caught with it illegally, would be facing a felony. This is all in an effort to fight against methamphetamine.

"Without this particular ingredient you cannot make meth. You can substitute some of the other ingredients with different things, but without pseudoephedrine or ephedrine you cannot make methamphetamine," said McGee.

Numbers from the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics show arrests for meth last year exceeded both crack and powered cocaine combined.

"We have an epidemic problem," said Department of Public Safety Commissioner, Stephen Simpson. "It's a terribly addictive drug, destructive drug and you can get everything at a Wal-Mart or a drug store."

While a state law already requires medications containing pseudoephedrine to be kept behind the counter, Sheriff McGee says that doesn't mean it's not easily available.

Governor Haley Barbour said a required prescription would have a substantial impact in meth reduction and the trade off is worth it.

"It is not too much of an inconvenience or big of a price to pay to make it a schedule prescription required drug," said Barbour.

"Certainly this will not stop people from going to doctors and doctor shopping and getting the prescriptions and still making in effort to make meth, but certainly it will be another tool in our favor," said McGee.

The two bills, one from the house and the other from the senate, have both passed in their committee and will now go up for debate.

Copyright 2009 WDAM. All rights reserved.

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