Davisson: Combating the spread of meth labs in Hoosier Communities

Posted by: Lindsay Devlin  | Friday, January 29, 2016

Statistics show that meth labs are spreading throughout the State of Indiana which makes it a priority that our legislative body discover a solution to this problem. The Indiana State Police (ISP) reported 1,488 meth lab incidents in 2014. This amount represents 16 percent of the national total and illustrates why Indiana has led the country for the past two years in meth lab seizures. This data illustrates the gravity of this issue and necessitates action on to stem the outreach of meth in Hoosier Communities.

The impact of meth throughout Indiana is not limited to a single community or group of individuals in Indiana. Children are such precious members of our society and they are being victimized by overwhelming presence of meth labs. In 2014, 382 Hoosier children were discovered and withdrawn from residences that housed meth labs. Placed in a living setting in which they are exposed to meth labs children can be harmed by inhaling toxic substances and making physical contact with dangerous chemicals. The Drug Enforcement Agency reports that 35 percent of children removed from meth labs tested positive for meth. We can’t let the potential of young people be restricted by the circumstances of their living situation and actions of irresponsible adults. 

Pseudoephedrine (PSE) is a key ingredient in the creation of meth and is used in various cold, flu and allergy medications. At the moment NPLEx, an electronic monitoring system, is used in every pharmacy in Indiana to record PSE purchases. Despite this system, the number of meth lab incidents and offenders has grown not dwindled and these criminals are still discovering loopholes and methods to continue producing meth.

One of the most practical methods to resolving the dilemma of meth labs in our communities is to implement regulations making Pseudoephedrine available only by prescription. This proposal has yet to gain traction and has been met by several opposing arguments. Many have suggested that making PSE a prescription drug would increase healthcare costs and traffic at the doctor’s office. National studies conducted in Oregon and Mississippi however indicate that there is no cost increase in the states’ Medicaid programs or a rise in doctors’ appointments. I believe these voices of opposition represent a small concern of inconvenience that is dwarfed by the serious matter of meth labs.

The effectiveness of making a PSE prescription is illustrated in the success that other states have had in implementing this legislation. In Oregon within 35 weeks of this law being enacted reported meth labs decline 96 percent and meth-related emergency room visits decreased by 35 percent. In Mississippi incidents associated with meth labs decreased from 692 in 2009 to eight in 2013.

This session I’ve constructed legislation to regulate and provide greater organization when distributing prescriptions. HB 1276 allows pharmacists to dispense drugs to assist tobacco users in quitting and immunization drugs without requiring the purchasers to provide a prescription. These products serve a very important purpose and should be easily accessible to Hoosiers. HB 1277 requires a health insurance policy and health maintenance organization to establish a coordinated refill schedule for chronic prescriptions and a daily cost-sharing rate that makes citizens aware of how much they will spend on health care plans. Both of these bills facilitate greater transparency and structure in the distribution of prescription drugs.

We have worked diligently so far this session to address the meth problem that plagues our state and made significant progress. However there is still a great deal left to accomplish and with your support we will cooperatively solve these issues and continue to make the state of Indiana great.

I appreciate your thoughts and opinions on issues affecting our community so feel free to contact me by phone at 1-800-383-9841 or by email, h73@iga.in.gov.

-30- 

Rep. Davisson represents parts of Washington, Orange, Lawrence, Jackson, Clark and Harrison Counties.