Over the past three years, Indiana has led the nation in methamphetamine lab incidents. It’s a ranking that reflects misery and hardship amongst too many in our state. However, there is encouraging news indicating that our fight against the spread of meth is making progress. New laws, combined with the hard work of law enforcement and the commitment to public safety by communities across Indiana, have helped the Hoosier State see a significant drop in the number of meth lab seizures and in the number of children removed from meth lab environments.
Recently released Indiana State Police statistics indicate statewide meth lab seizures have declined 36 percent during the third quarter of 2016. From July through September, ISP reports 209 meth lab busts occurred in Indiana, representing a 36.3 percent drop from the 328 incidents during the same period in 2015. In that same period, children identified in meth labs is down 65.6 percent compared to the same period in 2015. Year-to-date, child removals from Indiana meth labs are down 43.7 percent compared to 2015.
These numbers reflect tangible declines in the number of meth labs that have endangered Hoosier children and unsuspecting neighbors with the threat of fire and explosion. It means less minors have had to live in conditions exposing them to the toxic waste meth labs create. It means fewer meth homes are blighting neighborhood streets. It also means law enforcement can devote more of their time tracking down drug traffickers instead of cleaning up after meth cooks.
The General Assembly was able to pass additional, bipartisan legislation during the 2016 session to combat meth production. I sponsored one of those new laws, which took effect July 1. It makes purchasing large amounts of pseudoephedrine (PSE), the key ingredient used to manufacture meth, more difficult for meth cooks or those selling, or “smurfing,” it to them.
Under the new law, Hoosiers who have a patient relationship with a pharmacy can continue purchasing cold medicine that contains PSE without a prescription. If they do not have a patient relationship, and the pharmacist believes there is a legitimate medical need, they can buy an extraction-resistant formulation of PSE or a package of 24-count 30mg regular PSE. Only an individual who refuses these various options would be required to obtain a prescription. These reforms maintain legitimate consumer access, while empowering pharmacists and law enforcement to keep PSE out of the hands of criminals and meth cooks.
The recent positive results we have seen in our fight against meth show how Hoosiers can come together to address a serious problem. Our law enforcement will continue to be on the front lines in this battle and the General Assembly will keep supporting policies to help them and our communities make even more progress.
Please contact me with any questions or input at 317-232-9793 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about the work being done at the Statehouse by signing up to receive my email updates at www.in.gov/h74.
State Rep. Lloyd Arnold (R-Leavenworth) represents portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.
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