INDIANAPOLIS – The debate over how best to stop the scourge of methamphetamine continued at the Statehouse on Monday.
A week after several mayors asked for a stronger solution – making the key ingredient of cold and allergy medication prescription only – supporters gathered to reinforce their support of further tracking.
Law enforcement groups also have favored the prescription route, though legislators have largely resisted.
Senate Bill 496 would add an annual limit on how much pseudoephedrine consumers can buy on top of existing daily and monthly limits.
And it would require convenience stores or gas stations to use the electronic tracking system to sell the small packets.
Most sales of the medicine already are currently tracked in a real time, online system that stops purchases at the cash register if someone is buying more than legally allowed.
But the law has done little to stem the number of meth labs in the state.
Indiana had 1,429 meth labs discovered by police last year – the third most of all the states – and has had that number nearly double since 2008, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
We thought that would have an effect, and it did for a while, but it seems like were right back in it now, said Plymouth Mayor Mark Senter.
Sen. Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury, and supporters defended the bill as the next logical step in the fight against meth.
Its a reasonable compromise solution and something that enhances an effective system thats already working, said John Elliott, of Kroger, who also chairs the Indiana Retail Council board.
The prescription-only solution would punish 99.9 percent of our customers who are law-abiding citizens.
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association also released the results of a poll conducted in February finding that 84 percent of Hoosiers rely on these over-the-counter medicines containing pseudoephedrine.
And 65 percent of those polled opposed changing the law to require a doctors prescription.
The poll did not gauge support for the current bill, which limits consumers to about an eight-month supply a year.