Rep. Bacon: Combating illicit drug abuse

Posted by: Hannah Carlock  | Monday, April 4, 2016 10:00 am

Combating illicit drug abuse

Unfortunately, Indiana has led the nation in meth lab seizures for three consecutive years, with more than 1,500 incidents in 2015 alone.

In order to combat meth production in our state, it is crucial we find ways to restrict meth cooks from accessing pseudoephedrine (PSE), a key ingredient used in manufacturing meth. PSE is often found in cold, flu and allergy medications. To better monitor PSE purchases, these medications are placed behind the counter, and there are limits on the amount an individual can purchase. Consumers are also required to sign a registry each time they purchase PSE medications. A computer-based monitoring system, NPLEx, is currently being used in every Hoosier pharmacy to track the purchase of PSE. These efforts are a step in the right direction, but criminals are still finding ways to sidestep the legal system.

House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1157 builds upon the efforts of dispensing PSE according to daily, monthly and yearly purchasing limits. HEA 1157 will keep PSE accessible to law-abiding consumers while prohibiting individuals convicted of a meth-related felony from purchasing these medications without a prescription. The already established NPLEx system will issue stop-sale alerts in real time when meth-related felons attempt to purchase PSE without a prescription. These alerts will be issued for persons who have been convicted of any specific meth-related felony within the last seven years. This law will not affect law-abiding Hoosiers who do not have a meth-related conviction on their record.

Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 80 helps to further these efforts by allowing Hoosiers who have an established patient relationship with a pharmacy to continue to purchase medications containing PSE without a prescription. If an individual does not have a patient relationship with a pharmacy, the pharmacist would be able to sell them an extraction-resistant product or a package of a smaller dose of PSE. Individuals who refuse these options and request regular PSE would be required to obtain a prescription.

In addition to meth, Indiana is facing a heroin problem. SEA 187 works to reduce fatal overdoses in Indiana, by allowing family members, concerned friends or other loved ones to purchase Narcan, a life-saving medicine, without a prescription. This safe and non-addictive overdose prevention drug reverses the effects of overdoses and helps keep individuals breathing normally. Narcan will be sold over the counter at pharmacies across the state, permitting Hoosiers to act quickly in the event of an emergency.

All of these newly enacted laws will take effect July 1, 2016, in an effort to save lives and curb the illegal drug problem that is flooding the Hoosier state. If you have any questions or input, please contact me at h75@iga.in.gov or by calling (317) 232-9833.

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Rep. Bacon (R-Chandler) represents portions of Warrick, Pike and Spencer counties.