Rep. Arnold: Combating Indiana's drug epidemic

Posted by: Peter Hoffman  | Tuesday, April 12, 2016

As the top meth-producing state in the nation, Indiana needed to take action this session to keep the ingredients used to manufacture methamphetamine out of the wrong hands. With over 1,500 labs discovered each of the last three years, and hundreds of children exposed to meth-contaminated homes, dealing with this scourge is more than a law enforcement matter; it’s a child protection issue as well. It was clear that we needed to empower pharmacists’ and law enforcement’s ability to curb the prevalence of meth labs around the state.

I supported House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1157, to make it harder for meth cooks to obtain pseudoephedrine (PSE), an ingredient in certain cold medications, and the key precursor for manufacturing meth. Currently, federal law mandates PSE be kept behind pharmacy counters and dispensed according to daily, monthly and yearly individual purchase limits. HEA 1157 would build on these efforts by keeping PSE accessible to law-abiding consumers, but prevent individuals convicted of a meth-related felony from purchasing these medications without a prescription.

The National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx) would be instructed to issue stop-sale alerts in real time when meth-related felons attempt to purchase PSE without a prescription. The alerts will be issued for persons who have been convicted of any specific meth-related felony within the last seven years.

Through HEA 1235, we also toughened penalties for the worst drug dealers and traffickers, assuring those convicted of dealing meth or heroin with a prior drug dealing felony conviction would serve at least 10 years behind bars. We also passed HEA 1102, which provides grants to counties to implement evidence-based mental health and addiction forensic treatment services. We must be tougher and smarter on crime: punishing those who repeatedly profit from the drug trade while expanding substance abuse treatment options. 

These bills were recently into law. I look forward to making more progress to ensure the safety of Hoosier families and communities in District 74.

As always, please contact me with questions or input at (317) 232-9793 or by email at h74@iga.in.gov. I am eager to help and always appreciate hearing from you in order to better represent our district at the Statehouse. You can also learn more about the work being done on your behalf by signing up to receive my email updates at www.in.gov/h74.

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Rep. Arnold (R-Leavenworth) represents portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.