Recently, a meth symposium was held in Evansville by the by Indiana Attorney General, Greg Zoeller, and Illinois Attorney General, Lisa Madigan. Local officials, law enforcement and prosecuting attorneys from southern Indiana, southern Illinois and Missouri gathered together to collaborate on ways to help solve the growing meth manufacturing issues in our communities.
Unfortunately, southern Indiana is still number one in meth manufacturing in the nation. Over the past decade, we have taken to steps to attempt to decrease meth production by instituting a tracking system for individuals purchasing products containing pseudoephedrine, which stalled the numbers for about two years. We also required those products to be purchased from ‘behind the counter.’ However, the meth production rates in southern Indiana are staying even.
Over the past several sessions in the Indiana General Assembly, several legislators, including myself, have been pushing to pass a bill that would make pseudoephedrine available by prescription only. At the meth symposium, we were told by Missouri officials they are also pursuing similar legislation statewide.
However, the major difference between Indiana and Missouri is that their cities and towns have the authority to enact local laws that require pseudoephedrine to be a prescription only drug, and Indiana local governments do not have this ability. More than 40 Missouri cities and towns have enacted such laws, and they have seen a major decrease in meth production in their communities.
Since Missouri cities and towns have enacted these laws, southern Illinois has seen an increase in their meth production numbers, which is most likely because the individuals who run meth labs are ‘moving shop’ where it is easier to obtain their ingredients.
Last session, I authored a bill that would have created a pilot program in Vanderburgh, Warrick, Posey and Gibson Counties to give their local governments the authority to enact legislation to make pseudoephedrine available by prescription only. Unfortunately, it didn’t receive a committee hearing. I know there is a lot of local support for a bill that would do just that, and I plan to continue to push for additional support across the state so we can gain more local control of this issue and hopefully save our communities from further destruction by meth.
At the symposium I heard a line that I really liked. “No one has ever died from not getting their pseudoephedrine, but many have died from meth.” Children have died, homes and properties have been destroyed and lives have been devastated by meth. It is no secret that meth comes at a very high cost to our communities, but I will continue to work with you to help find solutions.