JACKSON, Miss. (WDAM) - The Mississippi State Senate passed SB 2119 Thursday, which would allow pharmacies to sell products containing certain amounts of pseudoephedrine or ephedrine over the counter.
Previous legislation passed in 2010 made it so drugs containing certain quantities of those ingredients are available only by prescription.
“Law enforcement folks came to us in the legislature and said, ‘Hey, we need to get this harder to get ahold of,’” said Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-District 41. “And, we need to keep track of how much Sudafed product is being purchased in bulk because the meth makers are taking that product and creating this horrible drug called crystal meth.”
Now, officials say most methamphetamines are imported or made with different ingredients.
“Coming from other states, coming from, as everybody knows, there’s a drug problem crossing the Mexican border,” said Sgt. Marcus Ardis with the Columbia Police Department. “A lot of that is high-grade methamphetamines. So, what those Mexican super labs are able to do is, I mean, they’re creating large amounts of methamphetamines that’s being imported. And it’s very pure methamphetamines at a relatively low price.”
“Criminals are getting their hands on cheaply made and cheaply available crystal meth, and they’re using cheaper and better ingredients to make their crystal meth if they still choose to make it themselves,” Fillingane said.
Proponents of the bill said current law only makes it harder for people who actually need Sudafed drugs to obtain those medications.
“What you have are law-abiding citizens who are suffering from allergies and head congestions and colds not being able to easily access Sudafed, Claritin D, these types of products that have pseudoephedrine and ephedrine products in them,” Fillingane said.
The bill states pharmacies will still have to keep track of how much pseudoephedrine a person buys, and there will be both a daily and monthly limit.
All of this to say, the meth problem is still present in Mississippi.
“You’re almost as likely to catch somebody with methamphetamine as you are marijuana,” Ardis said. “It’s common.”
The bill now moves to the Mississippi House of Representatives.