Legislation Introduced To Help Fight Meth Production

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NASHVILLE – Senator Mae Beavers (R – Mount Juliet) and Representative Debra Maggart (R – Hendersonville) introduced legislation [SB 325/HB 234] today that calls for the adoption of a statewide, industry-funded electronic tracking system, called NPLEx (the National Precursor Log Exchange), to monitor and stop illicit purchases of over-the-counter cold and allergy products containing pseudoephedrine (PSE), an ingredient sometimes used to illegally manufacture methamphetamine. The bill provides an alternative, less-intrusive solution to the prescription-only bill (HB 181) introduced last week.

“This kind of government intrusion in our lives is not the solution we need to attack the meth problem in Tennessee,” said Sen. Beavers, the bill’s sponsor in the Senate.  “We should not punish the tens of thousands of innocent Tennesseans who need this over-the-counter medication to get at the criminals who are using the drug illegally to produce meth when there is another approach which is very effective. Our legislation offers a proven, effective, non-governmental solution to the problem, without pushing up the cost of the medication on consumers by requiring them to visit a physician to obtain a prescription.”

There is currently no mechanism in place in Tennessee to block illegal sales in real time, as many pharmacies and retailers rely on handwritten, paper logbooks to track purchases. As a result, criminals have learned to circumvent the current system. SB 325/HB 234 would provide a secure, interconnected electronic logbook that allows pharmacists and retailers to refuse an illegal sale based on purchases made elsewhere in the state or beyond its borders. Most importantly, SB 325/HB 234 preserves access to the PSE medicines consumers rely on and trust for cold and allergy relief.

“For all law-abiding Tennesseans, the experience of buying cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine at the local pharmacy will not change,” said Rep. Maggart, the bill’s sponsor in the House of Representatives. “However, for those looking to purchase more than their legal limit, this system will immediately deny the sale, and law enforcement will possess a powerful tool to track down these individuals when they attempt to do so.”

In the four states that have fully implemented e-tracking technology, nearly 40,000 grams of illegal PSE sales per month are blocked. The system, which provides local law enforcement officials with precise data on who is attempting to buy illegal amounts of PSE, also helps law enforcement find meth labs.

“NPLEx is effective because it prevents the illegal sale of pseudoephedrine from ever happening in the first place,” said Carlos Gutierrez, a state government relations consultant at the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. “Electronic blocking technology gives law enforcement the ability to identify meth cooks, not only in Tennessee, but across state lines and in real time.”

The leading manufacturers of over-the-counter medicines containing PSE, represented by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, are working closely with state legislators and law enforcement to help implement NPLEx technology to pharmacies and retailers in Tennessee free of charge.

SB 325/HB 234 is supported by the Tennessee Pharmacists Association, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, and the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry. If passed into law, SB 325/HB 234 would make Tennessee the 13th state to pass legislation requiring a statewide e-tracking system to block illegal sales of medicines containing PSE. The NPLEx system would be fully integrated into Tennessee pharmacy systems by January 1, 2012.
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February 04, 2011 at 9:46am
What these will bill will do is cost you more because it want be free and who owns this tracking company.And it will not help if they drive across stateline only hurt the people that are within the law.And then you create back door way they will get hold of these items which probably already doing big drug dealers.Pass bill to go after big dealers stiffer sentence 50-60 years if convicted and people that are renting homes or property to these dealers knowing it is drug money being used to pay rent.
February 04, 2011 at 10:50am
This bill also turns into prescription mandate and and people without healthcare insurance and sick after they go over limit of cold medication are forced to get doctor prescription if passed will only punish the majority for what few are doing wrong.FDA releases certain drugs every year to make them more afforable and so you do not have to go to doctor if you have a cold or running nose.If this bill passes next thing is the guy at the co-op buying to much corn he must be making whiskey instead feeding his cows.This bill is like prohibition it will not help or work and the past has proved it.
February 09, 2011 at 10:45pm
Obviously there is not a single solution to the ever increasing drug problem in ours and other communities. At some point however, all of us will have to become more "invested" in our families, friends and neighbors in our sphere of influence.

Becoming more informed and educated in recognizing signs and symptoms of addictions, the "Myths" about Drug Addiction and Substance Abuse, is foundational to any meaningful gains on this growing problem.

Effective drug screening has reduced the overall numbers of drug consuming DOT Commercial Truck drivers. The Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance has standards and guidelines detailing how tests are administered, but their best efforts can only "reduce" some of the offenders and will not prevent all. Those with JOBS are less likely to jeopardize their careers or employment by recreational drug use, when the possibility of random drug test exists. Those without JOBS, receiving public tax payer assistance of any form, should be required to demonstrate a "drug free" status or condition in order to receive such assistance. I don't think any tax payer wants the proceeds of our hard earned tax dollars going toward funding or subsidizing those who would consume illegal drugs while on the public dole. Positive drug use, should result in positive termination of public assistance. Not clean? No green!

I think efforts in the screening process, making it more accessible and economical along with mandatory penalties, rather than wrist slaps, would go far in reducing the number of offenders.

Sadly, I don't think our culture is poised to win the war on drugs, especially with adult users. More laws don't always accomplish the intended purpose. Meaningful reductions and preventative measures need to be discussed, formulated and brought to the battle lines for the sake of our youngsters before they too, become casualties.

Just as with the matter of gun control, the real target should be the criminals rather than the guns. We need crime control, not more gun control. Drug manufacture, sale or use, should have serious consequences. The assets of convicted offenders, such as cars, boats or property should be liquidated and utilized to offset enforcement costs.

Guns kill people, like matches cause fires or spoons make people fat. Outlaw matches or spoons?

Too much nonsense and not enough common sense, is the byproduct of the Politically Correct approaches rampant these days. I am not seeking to point blame, rather seeking to enlist collective thoughts and ideas that could be beneficial to our community in addressing the harm and damage of illegal drug use. There is way to "print space" each week in this community news paper, that screams....... we have a real problem!
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