Unfortunately, Indiana is on its way to lead the nation in meth lab seizures for the third-straight year, with a reported 1,488 meth lab incidents in 2014. This amount represents 16 percent of the national total and illustrates the gravity of the issue.
The impact of meth throughout Indiana is not limited to a single community or group of individuals. Sadly, children are especially vulnerable to the meth epidemic. In 2014, 382 Hoosier children were discovered and withdrawn from residences that housed meth labs. Children living in or around this environment are harmed by inhaling toxic substances and coming into physical contact with dangerous chemicals. The Drug Enforcement Agency reports that 35 percent of children removed from meth labs tested positive for the drug.
Meth produced from these types of labs commonly use the drug Pseudoephedrine (PSE), which is used in various cold, flu and allergy medications and can be purchased at a pharmacy. Currently, the National Precursor Log Exchange, 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 and meth cooks are still discovering loopholes and methods to continue producing meth.
As a member of the House Public Health Committee, I worked on and voted in support of a bill that would help curb meth production in Indiana. Under this proposal, if an individual has a relationship on record with a pharmacy, then they will be able to continue purchasing the PSE products they need as usual. If the individual does not have a relationship with the pharmacy, the bill would give them the option to buy a tamper-resistant product or a small amount of the 30mg immediate release tabs. If that product is refused and the customer without a pharmacy relationship wants the higher dose product, then they would need to get a prescription.
The tamper-resistant PSE works the same as traditional PSE, but the extraction of PSE is much more difficult which deters the production of meth. Tamper-resistant PSE is widely available to Hoosiers for a similar price.
Under House Bill (HB) 1390, pharmacists would be held accountable by the Indiana Board of Pharmacy who would review their professional determinations and discipline those who violate any rules.
Another bill that will strengthen our ability to bring meth labs under control is HB 1157. This bill will have drug related felonies reported to the National Precursor Log Exchange and block the sale of PSE to any person who has had a drug related felony.
We have worked diligently so far this session to address the meth problem that plagues our state and we’re made significant progress. I believe these two pieces of legislation properly balance the issue of curbing meth production while considering the convenience of obtaining PSE for law-abiding Hoosiers.
For more information on these proposals, visit www.iga.in.gov.
Rep. Davisson represents parts of Washington, Orange, Lawrence, Jackson, Clark and Harrison Counties.