[r76] Working to address Indiana's meth epidemic (4/28/2014)

Monday, April 28, 2014 7:00 pm

Start Date:  4/28/2014  Start Time:  12:00 AM
End Date:  4/28/2014    
Since I first began serving as your state representative four years ago, I have been committed to addressing many different issues facing our community and state. One major issue that I have continued to be outspoken about is the widespread manufacture and use of methamphetamine. Last April, 207 meth labs were seized in Indiana by the State Police, and according to a report from the Department of Justice’s National Clandestine Laboratory Seizure Report, Indiana is leading the nation in the number of meth lab seizures. We have taken small steps to combat this issue, but I believe much more work is needed. 

One step taken by the General Assembly this past session to address this problem was passing House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1141, which I authored. This law will provide a clearer history on homes, elaborating on whether or not a house has ever been affected by meth. This law was a direct result of individuals from our community asking for help in dealing with the damaging effects of meth use and manufacturing. It is not acceptable for this to be happening in any community, especially in our backyards, where meth lab busts continue to be a problem. 

I firmly believe one way to combat the meth epidemic in Indiana is to make pseudoephedrine, a key component of meth, a scheduled drug. We can also learn from other states and look at ways they have addressed the issue of meth in their communities. According to a study put together for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, Oregon and Mississippi, both states with prescription-only laws as well as their neighboring states, have experienced a decline in meth-lab related incidents.   

The main argument I continue to hear is that when someone is feeling the onset of sickness, it would be inconvenient to require a prescription for pseudoephedrine, which can resolve symptoms fairly quickly. Another argument is that the drug will still come in from Mexico. I believe they will, but for your average meth maker, manufacturing it will become much more difficult and unpleasant, which other states have seen following the passage of the their more restrictive laws.  

I have worked very closely with the Indiana State Police Meth Suppression Unit to keep up-to-date of the latest tactics to conquer this widespread issue. More education will help deter the use of meth in Indiana as well. Oregon has had success through education and public service announcements against the harmful effects of meth.  

Looking ahead, I have begun to consider legislation for the 2015 legislative session that would try to address some of the major arguments against scheduling pseudoephedrine. I believe through compromise, other legislators and I can come to an agreement on the best way to address this issue. This deadly scourge is in our backyard and it will take a herculean effort by all Hoosiers to resolve.  As my voting record and legislation I have championed will confirm,  I plan to continue to fight this horrible plague until there is relief for our community.   

McNamara_Memo_Working to address Indiana’s meth epidemic.docx