WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Bart Gordon’s bill to make it harder for meth producers to access needed pharmaceutical ingredients passed the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
“Tennessee continues to be home base for a large meth production industry. We need to cut that industry off at the source,” Gordon said. “Reinforcing tough restrictions on retailers and distributors of these products will reduce the availability of meth in our communities.”
The Combat Methamphetamine Enhancement Act (H.R. 2923) places stronger enforcement on retailers of products that contain ingredients used to make meth. Many common decongestant medications contain pseudoephedrine or ephedrine, which are key ingredients in meth production.
The bill closes a loophole in a 2006 law, placing stronger enforcement on retailers of products that contain ingredients used to make meth. The bill would require retailers to self-certify with the Drug Enforcement Administration that they comply with current safeguards. These safeguards prevent single customers from purchasing suspiciously large quantities of certain products, require distributors of these products to sell only to retailers who are registered with the DEA and establish civil fines for those who fail to comply with the regulations.
“There is no simple solution to solving the meth epidemic,” said Gordon. “We must come at this problem at the federal, state and community level.”
The bipartisan bill now proceeds to the full U.S. House of Representatives for approval. The bill has the support of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, National Fraternal Order of Police, Healthcare Distribution Management Association, and Consumer Healthcare Products Association.
In 2007, Gordon authored the Methamphetamine Remediation Research Act. The law directed the Environmental Protection Agency to develop clean-up standards for former meth labs to help eradicate the toxic residue left behind when meth is cooked. In accordance with Gordon’s law, contractors hired to clean lab sites now follow EPA guidelines regarding disposal of unwanted materials and protective equipment.
In his fight against drug use in Middle Tennessee, Gordon has secured more than $1 million in federal funding to help local law enforcement crack down on meth production. He has also helped implement juvenile drug court programs in Middle Tennessee communities and worked to make drug education information more available in Tennessee’s public schools.