Last week, I met with community leaders in Vanderburgh and Posey Counties to discuss an issue that affects communities all over Indiana – methamphetamine abuse. Together with local officials, police and fire chiefs and other Southern Indiana legislators, we have resolved to try and combat meth usage.
At the Statehouse, we are going to push this issue to the forefront of discussion. This is a very serious issue; children are being hurt in lab explosions, individuals are becoming addicted after just one hit and there is an overall rise each year in the creation of clandestine labs.
In 2005, a law was passed requiring products containing pseudoephedrine (PSE) to be sold behind the counter and sales logged and recorded. This law did initially help as we saw a decline in clandestine lab arrests for a few years, but in recent years that number has climbed again.
A few ideas of proposed legislation would be to make ephedrine and pseudoephedrine controlled substances available by prescription only. Another option that I have co-authored for this session would potentially allow this to be decided at the local level and allow local governments to adopt a more stringent local ordinance. Similar measures adopted in Oregon and Mississippi led to an 80 percent drop in meth labs after a year. Another proposed piece of legislation that I have co-authored addresses children who die due to drugs being ingested during pregnancy.
I am frustrated by what I see happening in communities around our state. These are just a few proposed options to fight the spread of this devastating drug. Despite the quick adaptability of meth makers to find new ways to produce this drug, we will remain vigilant in our efforts to keep our streets clean and our communities safe. Studying this issue and seeking additional ways to address meth production in Indiana will be one of my top priorities this year.