[R74] Rep. Arnold and Rep. Davisson's guest column: At war with meth (7/22/2013)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Start Date: 7/22/2013 Start Time: 12:00 PM
End Date: 7/22/2013 End Time: 12:00 PM
At war with meth

Over the past few years, there has been an increase in meth-related crimes. Great Indiana communities like ours are built by Hoosier strength, perseverance and a caring attitude, but these guiding principles, which serve as the fabric of our society, are being deteriorated by the effects of meth. The Legislature has debated and passed measures that work to curb meth production and prosecute criminals, but we have to do more. Regardless of political affiliation, unifying on this issue to take a stand against the expansion of meth throughout Indiana will strengthen every community.

In 2012, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) collected data regarding the nation’s meth epidemic. Indiana ranked 3rd highest for most reported incidents, which implies multiple things: 1) law enforcement is putting meth producers and users behinds bars, which is reassuring, but 2) that there is a considerable amount of meth activity taking place in the state. According to the DEA, of the 11,210 national meth related cases involving labs, dumpsites and chemical/glass/equipment, Indiana was home to 1,429 incidents.

With a combination of community outreach and harsher state laws regarding meth, it is our hope that by working together Hoosiers can eliminate this epidemic. While it is difficult to legislate a problem like this, the General Assembly is making strides to strengthen the consequences for those who manufacture, distribute or possess meth. 

This year, the General Assembly passed legislation combating the issue of meth manufacturing and distribution. Senate Enrolled Act 496 designates that ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, a critical ingredient to meth that is commonly found in cold medicines, may be sold only by a pharmacy or a retailer that uses the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx) tracking system.

Used by law enforcement agencies, NPLEx allows them to monitor the amount of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine sold to individuals. This system permits law enforcement to ensure that these products are purchased reasonably  and have reported a positive result in blocking the excessive sale of over 169,000 grams and 74,000 boxes sold from January through August last year. Before SEA 496, a consumer could purchase up to 86.4 grams per year, but this new law reduces that number to 61.2 grams. This number was determined to be a reasonable annual amount by doctors and pharmacists for the use of cold relief or easement of sinus pressure. By lowering the amount, the law raises the difficulty for a person to create, harbor and traffic meth in Indiana while providing law abiding Hoosiers with the ability to obtain the medicine they need.

Additionally, the bill prohibits a person convicted of certain meth-related offenses from purchasing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine or phenylpropanolamine within seven years of their conviction unless they have a prescription – creating one more safety mechanism against meth production. Other portions of the law aim to intensify the penalty for providing these substances to a meth manufacturer, in addition to increasing the penalty for anyone who causes a meth-related fire or explosion resulting in bodily injury.

In addition to the Legislature’s work to eliminate meth, TheMethProject.org is a leading force against the spread of meth and provides information, treatment options and steps to take to avoid meth or win the battle against the addiction. This is an extremely serious topic; there is no “maybe” towards the outcome of how meth will change you. Meth is one of the most addictive substances on the planet that permanently impairs users’ physical and mental health.  

There are many rehab options in Indiana with the resources needed by those battling addiction and the families of addicts. Here are a few websites that provide rehab options in Indiana:
  • http://www.choosehelp.com/indiana
  • http://www.drugrehabindiana.com/
  • http://www.recoveryconnection.org/indiana-drug-rehab/
Since 2007, there has been a steady increase in the number of meth labs found in Indiana with over 1,400 incidents reported. According to the RAND Corporation’s Drug Policy Research center, the detrimental costs of meth explosions and cleaning up meth labs is estimated at over $23 billion a year in the U.S.. Now, more than ever, we must come together and find solutions to stop the manufacturing, distribution and use of meth. For more information on meth addiction and prevention please visit the Family and Social Services Administration website, specifically the Division of Mental Health and Addiction: www.in.gov/fssa/dmha.


ArnoldDavisson_At war with meth.docx