Meth Misinformation in Indiana

Not mething around in Oregon

Published in CSP Daily News

INDIANAPOLIS -- Despite protests by the Indiana Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association (IPCA) and others, the Indiana State Police "continue to harass law-abiding retailers by requiring them to enact tougher restrictions than contained in the law regarding the sale of cold medicines containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine [PSE]," the association said in its most recent Insider Report.

According to the newsletter, an officer in Madison County, Ind., told a retailer that sales in convenience packaging needed to be recorded into a logbook. [image-nocss] Sales in convenience packaging are exempted from having to be logged, said the group.

The IPCA said it had received other reports of officers providing false information regarding the fact that convenience packaging had to be behind the counter. This information is also incorrect, it said. Convenience packaging only needs to be within 30 feet and line of sight of the checkout clerk.

And some officers have said that retailers who do keep logs must go back and check their logbooks for the previous seven days to see if an individual is purchasing more than the allowable three grams of PSE/ephedrine. Retailers are restricted to selling more than three grams to an individual in any one transaction. "Since it would be impossible for a retailer to be aware of a customer's buying habits over the past seven days, it is up to law enforcement officials to check logs to see if any individual is breaking the law by purchasing more than three grams in a seven-day period," IPCA said.

The state police have acknowledged that some officers were giving out incorrect information, said the report, but the police say that the problem has been addressed.

PSE is found in over-the-counter cold medicines; it is a primary ingredient in making methamphetamine (meth), a highly addictive and illegal drug.

Meanwhile, Governor Ted Kulongoski has signed legislation that requires that PSE be available only by prescription, and provides additional resources for treatment and enforcement.

Soon after taking office, he appointed a Meth Task Force to look at ways to combat production and use. After initial recommendations, last October he directed the Oregon pharmacy board to put all PSE behind pharmacy counters and require that pharmacists keep a log of purchases.Six months later, the rule was working, he said; leading evidence indicated that meth labs had been reduced by 50% or more.The governor then directed that the rule be made permanent.

The State Board of Pharmacy has until next July to carry out the prescription requirement, but the board executive director, Gary Schnabel, said it could be in place within three months, according to an Associated Press report. Patients will be allowed up to five refills in a six-month period, Schnabel said.

Tom Holt, executive director of the Oregon State Pharmacy Association, said he thought the law would drive products that contain PSE off the market within a year or two.

Finally, in a joint appearance last week, three Cabinet members, John Walters, director of National Drug Control Policy; Alberto R. Gonzales, U.S. Attorney General; and Mike Leavitt, secretary of Health & Human Services, detailed the Bush administration's approach to meth. Touring the Davidson County Drug Court & Treatment Center in Nashville, Tenn., they highlighted progress in efforts to reduce meth production and trafficking and to advance treatment and prevention for meth addiction, and they unveiled new initiatives for continuing to combat the meth threat.

Federal legislation would include an individual purchase limit of 3.6 grams per transaction for retail sales of products containing PSE; elimination of the blister pack exemption, requiring all products containing PSE to be subject to federal law, regardless of how they are packaged; and, to prevent diversion of PSE shipments for illegal use, a requirement that importers of PSE request and receive approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) if there is a change in the shipment's original purchase.

The Bush Administration has announced several new federal initiatives focused on four core areas: prevention and treatment; law enforcement; education; and management of the drug's unique consequences. These new initiatives will leverage the work at the state and local level and will provide additional resources nationwide.

They include:

Provide $16.2 million for meth treatment programs in seven statesCalifornia, Tennessee, Oregon, Texas, Montana, Georgia and New Mexico. Provide more meth information to the public at a new government website, Provide $1 million for a federal anti-meth advertising campaign.

Critics said that the measures are not enough, and that the administration has downplayed the meth problem.

To view a fact sheet on the initiatives, click here.

To find out about meth in your state, click here.

To read a complete transcript of Gonzales' speech, click here.