Sudafed Could Soon Require a Prescription

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri House Committee on Crime Prevention and Public Safety held a hearing Wednesday on a bill that would make Sudafed and other drugs containing psuedeophedrine require a prescription. Those supporting the bill said it will help fight the meth problem in Missouri while opponents said it makes it harder on those in real need of Sudafed from getting access.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, said he believes that while it will make it harder to get those drugs, it is necessary in aiding law enforcement in stopping meth cooking in Missouri.

But others like Rep. Mike Colona, D-St. Louis, don't think the current law that requires an ID to purchase Sudafed has had enough time to work. He said he doesn't want to make it harder for those who need the drugs without first seeing if the current method works at stopping the production of meth.

"It's going to be harder for people who need Sudafed to get it, and we still haven't had the chance to see if the current law has had an affect," Colona said.

The current law tracks and limits the amount of drugs containing psuedeophedrine any one person can buy. It requires anyone purchasing drugs like Sudafed to show a state approved ID and stores selling Sudafed must keep it off the shelves and behind the counter.

This law, approved more than a year ago, only recently became mandatory statewide. Prior to January 1, 2011, many drugstores began using the electronic system, but it was not required until the after the first of the year. Colona and others against the bill, want to see if the current law works before moving to more drastic efforts.

But those who support the bill point to states like Oregon. There they saw temporary results from an electronic tracking program similar to Missouri's only to have meth production tick up after meth producers found ways around the regulations. So, they adopted the measure now being proposed in Missouri in 2005 and have since seen a continued downward trend in meth production.

"Oregon, and states like Mississippi that followed their lead, are seeing sustained positive results under this type of legislation," Rob Bovett, a District Attorney from Oregon said.

The other element centers around law enforcement. Most state law enforcement officials and organizations support the bill, believing it will make fighting the meth problem in Missouri more manageable. A representative from the state highway patrol said that it would make it much harder on the meth producers, which would free up law enforcement resources to fight other crimes across the state.
The bill now faces a vote in the Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee.