CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Senate appears poised to approve one of the most talked about bills of this legislative session. A final vote is scheduled Tuesday on the measure aimed at cutting down on meth labs.

The most controversial part of the bill is a provision that would require a doctor’s prescription to obtain cold medicines that contain pseudoephedrine, a main ingredient in making meth.

Senators turned down two proposed amendments to the bill Monday while debating the pros and cons of the legislation for more than an hour.

“What this bill is about is making our neighborhoods safer,” Sen. Sam Cann, D-Harrison, said. “It’s about making crime investigations safer for our police forces.”

Senators said they know there is opposition to the plan from both the pharmaceutical lobby and state residents who don’t want to have to go to a doctor’s office to get a prescription for medicine like Claritin D or Sudafed. But Logan County Sen. Art Kirkendoll said lawmakers are being negligent if they don’t act.

“We already know what we are doing is not working, how can we be like that?”

Currently, sales of medications containing pseudoephedrine in West Virginia are limited and are tracked electronically, in real time, through the NPLEx system, National Precursor Log Exchange but some say that’s not enough.

Sen. Kirkendoll said he understands there may be consequences to his support of prescription only.

“I’ve got some who told me they wouldn’t vote for me in southern West Virginia if I supported Sudafed. I’ll just take my chances,” Kirkendoll said. “I would rather lose an election than know I passed a bill that saved a young man or young woman’s life.”

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association has provided the main opposition to the legislation. Senior Director Carlos Gutiérrez said senators have good intentions but their aim is wrong.

“While we certainly commend the legislature for taking action to address the meth problem, we urge them to focus on solutions that target criminals, not honest West Virginia families,” he said.

The Senate floor session begins at 11 a.m. Tuesday if the bill passes it will be forwarded to the House of Delegates.

 

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  • Ricardo

    Attach an amendment that requires the law expires in three years unless it ACTUALLY reduces meth labs. Too many laws are on the booked because somebody THINKS they will solve a problem or someone thinks SOMETHING, anything, has to be done. Oregon passed this law, meth labs went down, but they also went down in Washington which doesn't have the law. Reason, cheap heroin hit the streets, just as it is here. Simple solutions to a complex problem seldom work. Revisit the law in three years and see if it worked, if it didn't get it off the books. Then law abiding folks won't shoulder a costly dr. visit just to treat their cold, and that's if they can even get an appointment.

  • Jason412

    Mississippi had a 67% decrease in meth lab busts 1 year after passing a very similar law. From 937 to 321 in a single year.

    Oregon was on the decline before their ban was implemented, but in just one year their lab seizures went from 232 in 2005, to 67 in 2006 the year the law was passed, to 11 in 2011.


    Compare that to the 85% increase WV seen in lab busts in 2013 and you can talk about the "few ruining it for the many" all you want but ask any pharmacist and they'll tell you most people now buying Sudafed aren't using it for a cold.

    This is not to mention Nexafed, containing the same ingredients in a tamper resistant pill, is now available. Have a cold and don't want to go to a doctor to get a prescription for Sudafed? Buy Nexafed.

    If there wasn't an over the counter drug containing the exact same medicine, but harder to make meth from, these arguments about "having to pay to see a doctor" might be valid. But there is an over the counter option containing the exact same medicine.

    How many of you have even gave Nexafed a chance before rallying against this legislation? I recently tried it and for me, taken with a Claritin 24 hour, it works just as good as Claritin-D.

    • Ricardo

      Check what happened in Oregon's neighbor the same year without the law and you'll find a similar decrease. It wasn't the law that decreased meth production, it was cheap Mexican heroin coming up the coast.

    • The bookman

      I would add that another myth in this debate involves Nexafed's properties as tamper resistant. Although in large quantity production this new next generation PSE formulation does impede the production of meth, it is not as effective in the more prevalent one pot, shake and bake, method. There is a reduction by half in quantity of meth, only requiring twice the Nexafed as Sudafed in production. As stated by Aaron above, the large scale production is being done outside the US, and local authorities report the one pot shake and bake method as the method of choice for most offenders.

      So why, again, do you think this will reduce our meth problem?

    • Aaron

      From one of the articles in an Indiana paper.

      "Myth: Oregon and Mississippi — the only two states that have passed prescription requirements — are models, because meth labs were reduced dramatically after they made pseudoephedrine a prescription-only product.

      Truth: The Oregon-based Cascade Policy Institute published a study in 2012 that found that Oregon's recent decline in meth lab incidents began well before the state passed its prescription-only law in 2006.
      Cascade also studied several of Oregon's neighboring states, none of which have a prescription requirement, and found similar rates of meth lab decline. The likely reason? The constant influx of Mexican-made meth into the United States.

      According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, at least 80 percent of American meth comes from Mexico. For that and other reasons, Oregon law enforcement reported last year that meth remains the state's greatest drug threat. They also report that meth-related crime such as identity theft, abused and neglected children, and serious property damage continues to be a daily problem and is prevalent throughout the state.

      In Mississippi, meanwhile, law enforcement officials and newspaper articles frequently report on that state's continued struggle with meth-related crime across the state, despite the state's prescription requirement. According to the DEA agent in charge, in Gulfport, Miss., meth lab incidents have actually increased in that part of the state.Myth: Oregon and Mississippi — the only two states that have passed prescription requirements — are models, because meth labs were reduced dramatically after they made pseudoephedrine a prescription-only product. According to the DEA agent in charge, in Gulfport, Miss., meth lab incidents have actually increased in that part of the state. In neighboring Alabama, there were so many cases of Mississippians coming into the state to buy pseudoephedrine-based products that Alabama lawmakers were compelled to ban the purchase of those products by out-of-state residents."

      Myth: The online tracking system is not working.

      Truth: The online system tracks every sale of pseudoephedrine in Indiana and last year blocked more than 60,000 sales. Police across the state say the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx) is a valuable tool that has helped them catch meth criminals. They can receive alerts on their mobile phones or via email when suspects attempt to buy pseudoephedrine-based products.
      So, which strategy to combat meth will work best? It will take cooperation among law enforcement, the medical community and the counseling community to educate the public and enforce our existing laws.

      Some good things are happening. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller joined retailers, prosecutors, mayors and pharmacists to launch a statewide anti-smurfing education campaign at 1,000 pharmacies. Law enforcement is learning how to use NPLEx effectively.

      Treatment programs are working.
      It does no one any good to exaggerate claims, manufacture statistics or ignore the input of Indiana's medical community when trying to fight meth. We are all Hoosiers. Let's work together."

      I liked the comment about exaggerating claims but I'm not sure it does no good as WV is poised to be the 3rd state to pass a prescription requirement based on exaggerated claims. It really is sad.

      • Ricardo

        Amen Aaron. This political play is just another way of keeping lawful citizens from taking care of themselves and forcing them into, and paying for, medical services. I'll buy mine in VA., get arrested at the border for have 2 packs of pills and spend a year in jail under this bill. Watch it happen.

      • Jason412

        Aaron,

        So, to you NPLEX works but the prescription only doesn't?

        Please explain WV's 85% increase in lab seizures the year Nplex took effect here

        Bookman, Oxycontin was made tamper resistant. It was still abusable but gels mucg like Nexafed. Since becoming tamper resistant Oxycontin abuse is hardly even an issue anymore because only the die hard addicts will go through the process. Yes, we still have a lot of oxycodone abuse but the oxycodone 30mg's are not Oxycontin, and were never made tamper resistant.

        With Nexafed I believe the same will happen, the die hards will still use it but there wont be as many first timers.

        Just because it can still be used in meth doesn't mean its not tamper resistant. If it couldn't be used at all it would be called tamper proof.

        I ask you both, what is your solution? Tougher penalties only applies after someone has cooked the meth, probably many batches, and gets caught. Id prefer to be proactive

        • The bookman

          Nexafed gels in the large scale lab production method. It doesn't do that in the small scale shake and bake method that law enforcement is battling locally. So by placing all PSE meds under prescription but excluding products like Nexafed and Zephrex behind the counter but available without prescription, we really are back to square one.

          My solution is to attack the criminal, and not the law abiding citizen. These meth punks will find or do anything to get high. Meth is a scourge on our landscape here in WV. Agreed! But too often the knee jerk reaction of solving the users problems by attacking supply has long ago proven foolish. People who engage in destructive behavior have so many choices and weapons at their disposal. Honestly, ban PSE as an ingredient in any medication and these addicts will be on something else tomorrow. So as we continue to attempt to head off societal problems by saving people from themselves, many of us have long ago realized that these folks are already lost. That is a harsh reality. But reality is truly what it is.

        • Aaron

          Whether NPLEX works or not is open for debate. What isn't is the fact that a prescription requirement vastly increases the cost of the product.

    • Aaron

      A couple of things. First, I've tried Nexafed and it doesn't work for me. I realize that's anecdotal but from the majority of comments I've read on the subject, I'm not alone. Again, not scientific but I have a feeling that if a scientific study were completed, the results would be that Nexafed doesn't work as well as Sudafed.

      From my research, with the exception of those who originally supported Oregon's bill, the consensus is that it did not work as the vast amount of reduction in meth labs occurred before the law went into effect. I'd provide a link but I have another comment waiting moderation that has the link in it. I'm pretty sure that's why.

      I also found information online this morning from Indiana, whose lawmakers are apparently considering the same ban that states Mississippi's ban is not working either. Again, I would provide you the link but it's in the other post.

      It seems to me that the drug enforcement experts agree that a prescription ban fails to reduce the number of meth labs, is not a deterrent in the fight against readily available meth and only increases the cost of obtaining the product. That's not my conclusions but those of various studies that have looked at the problem much more in depth that it appears our state leaders have.

      • Jason412

        11 labs in 2011. How did Oregon's law not work? You're spreading misinformation by saying the vast majority of reduction happened before the ban. The numbers were in the hundreds before the ban and declining very slowly, now it is almost in the single digits. I fail to see how going from 232 to 67 labs in a year, down to 11 labs within 5 years, is proof the law isn't working.

        Mississippi was drastically increasing until the law was passed. 67% decrease the year the law was passed. How is having 600 less labs in a year "not working"

        Its also worth mentioning in my town not a single store even carries Sudafed now. You can buy Claritin D, but not Sudafed. So in my town the option is either not having access to it at all(currently) or going to a doctor.

        Meth labs and meth supply are two completely different subjects. Last I checked meth that was imported doesn't blow up or require a hazmat suit to clean up, meth labs do. There also aren't toxic dumpsites for imported meth, there are for labs.

        Post the links with a space after www and a space before .com

        • Aaron

          You said "11 labs in 2011. How did Oregon's law not work? You're spreading misinformation by saying the vast majority of reduction happened before the ban. The numbers were in the hundreds before the ban and declining very slowly, now it is almost in the single digits. I fail to see how going from 232 to 67 labs in a year, down to 11 labs within 5 years, is proof the law isn't working."

          Your numbers are wrong. In 2004, there was over 467 labs. 2005 saw that number reduced to just below 189. In 2006, prior to the prescription requirement, the number was 50.

          In two years, Oregon saw a reduction of 417 labs, or an 89% reduction in meth labs in two year. Since them, the number of labs has decreased from 50 to 11 in 6 years.

          And I'm the one spreading misinformation? Seriously?

          • Aaron

            Using your numbers Jason, the number of labs decreased from 2004 to 2005 by 400, or 63%. By 2006, the year the law took effect, they had decreased by 565, or 89%. How was the path Oregon taking not working prior to the law and can you state with certainty that had the law not been passed, the number of labs would not have continued to decline?

          • Jason412

            I did read a good bit of it. Enough to know they pulled their numbers from EPIC.

            While the Cascade Report says they pull their numbers from EPIC, they clearly didn't copy them correctly.

            http://www .justice. gov/dea/resource-center/meth-lab-maps.shtml ( take spaces out)
            Here are maps of the EPIC Data.

            Look at 2006 Oregon. 66 is the number, not 50. EPIC's Oregon 2004 number? 632. You said 2005 had "just under" 189, EPIC shows 232. Weird, because those sound almost identical to the numbers I posted.

            So, if they can't even look at a map and copy the number it stands to reason the rest of the report lacks as much credibility as the beginning of it.

            I do see EPIC has 2012 Mississippi listed as only having 5 incidents the entire year. But it also has WV as only 59.

            Maybe next time before hyping up a report you post, and acting like it is the definitive authority, you should corroborate where they say they got their information and at least make sure the numbers match. Which they don't.

            You call it truth, I call it a report that was counting on people like you to take it as the gospel without checking the facts for yourself.


            Apparently you roll with misinformation, regardless of how right you try to convince yourself you are.

          • Aaron

            I'm curious Jason, did you read the report? I would venture to say that not only did fail to read the report, you had never heard of it prior to me bringing it up

            While the numbers very slightly from what the state reports, the percentage reductions are very similar. I'll find the reason for the variances, and why the Cascad numbers are in line with federal numbers tomorrow when I have more than my iPhone to read.

            I do know that the parameters in determining what a constituted a seizure varied between the state of Oregon and the federal government.

            I'm also pretty sure that many counties reported seizures accepted by the state for the purposes of this issue that were discounted by others. It's been a year, and I'll have to find it but I do know there was some questions regarding numbers because of revisions after the law went into effect.

            It seems some researchers wanted to cherry pick data to make their side of the argument look good. You can claim the Cascade Institute did that if you like but given youve not read the report, we know why you make that claim.

            I trust it because I happened upon that report while researching the subject last year when this issue what is being considered by the legislature, It was referenced in a summary of DEA report.

            At this point, I don't really care about convincing you. You have your mind made up even though you're wrong so you'll put information out there to try to get people to believe you, because you're wrong. When you're proven wrong and were above, she will respond by putting more misinformation. Much more misinformation. That's how you roll.

            When I see information that I know to be wrong, as is the case on this issue, I corrected it with the truth. That's how I roll!!!

          • Jason412

            Ah yes, Aaron. You're "unbiased, both sides of the story report" titled "MAKING RX ONLY DID NOT REDUCE METH"

            The author you ask? Christopher Stomberg, PHD

            and what is Christopher Stomberg's background?

            None other then the co-founder of a company who describes themselves...

            "Our professionals have played pivotal roles in healthcare investigations and litigation involving pricing, marketing, distribution, and reimbursement issues in cases alleging fraud, misrepresentation, breach of contract, and violation of state and federal statutes"

            Around my way we call those "lobbyists".

            Very unbiased and credible source.

            I'm just surprised in your apparently extensive research that you didn't stumble across the agency report who is in charge of keeping track of these things.


            Bookman,

            As I feel I've made my point and nothing else I say could be any more convincing then what I've already said, I leave you with this. According to the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics the state had just 8 meth lab seizures in 2013.


            Now either that is a hell of a coincidence, or a direct result of the ban. You decide.

          • Aaron

            The numbers I used from The Cascade Report.

            Google it.

            As to the solution, you must selectively read my comments. I've stated numerous time that I favor legalization with money saved on policing, prosecuting and inprisionong individuals we should address the problems through rehabilitation programs.

            Anything else?

          • The bookman

            No comment on your scuffle with Aaron, but I do have some observation on the numbers in your chart.

            How do you explain the significant drop in meth lab discoveries in the Oregon 2006 numbers from 2005 given only half the year having this policy in effect?

            Look at the extreme variability in meth lab discoveries in Mississippi over the date range provided. How can any conclusions be drawn as to the effect of this policy in Mississippi given the statistical lack of trend?

            And finally, if this law provides such clearly defined success as you suggest, then why would WV be only the 3rd state to enact such legislation?

            Just questions I have...

          • Jason412

            http:// www. gao .gov/assets/660/651709 .pdf (take the space out before and after www. and before .gov and .pdf
            Page 30. There's a graph, as well.

            Oregon
            2004: 632
            2005: 232
            2006: 67 (law went into effect July 1)
            2007: 43
            2008: 48
            2009: 17
            2010: 21
            2011: 11

            Mississippi:
            2004:561
            2005: 359
            2006: 299
            2007: 182
            2008: 440
            2009: 960
            2010: 937 (Law went into effect July 1)
            2011: 321

            These are from the Government Accountability Office report to Congressional Requester's. So while you talk about your unbiased reports shortly after quoting a newspaper, this is the information that was sent to Congress.

            So yes, you're spreading misinformation by using false numbers. Huge discrepancy in your Oregon 2004 numbers, of 467 and "just under" 189 when the actual numbers were 632 and 232.

            And how, when dealing in meth labs numbers, can it be "just under"? There are no half labs, or quarter labs. It's either 189 or if "just under" it would be 188. Regardless, the number was wrong

            Also, what do you mean by "In 2006, prior to the prescription requirement, the number was 50." When its indisputable that the law went into effect in Oregon July 1, 2006. At first I thought you meant there were 50 seizures before 7/1/2006 but later in your post you say "the number of labs has decreased from 50 to 11 in 6 years." Which, again, is a false number, but leads readers to believe that 50 was the number for the entire year and that the law didn't go into effect in 2006.


            From the report
            "The number of reported meth lab incidents in both Oregon and
            Mississippi declined following the adoption by those states of the
            prescription-only approach for PSE product sales (see fig. 7). In the case
            of Oregon, the number of reported meth lab incidents had already
            declined by nearly 63 percent by 2005 from their 2004 peak of over 600
            labs. After the movement of PSE products to behind-the-counter status in
            Oregon in 2005 and implementation of the CMEA and state-imposed
            prescription-only approach in 2006, the number of reported meth lab
            incidents in Oregon continued to decline in subsequent years. In
            Mississippi, after the adoption of the prescription-only approach in 2010,
            the number of reported meth lab incidents subsequently declined from
            their peak by 66 percent to approximately 321 labs in 2011. "


            I don't think whether NPLEX works in WV is up for debate at all. It clearly doesn't or we wouldn't of went from 288 labs in 2012 to 533 last year when our tracking system went into effect. Maybe it works elsewhere, but it certainly didn't here.


            And I ask you again, what is your solution? As always, you have all these explanations of why something doesn't work without ever offering an alternative.

        • Aaron

          Anyone willing to do the research should start with the Cascade Report authored by Christopher Stomberg and Arum Sharma from February, 2012. Do a simple google search and you can find it. From there, look at the vast amount of information out there that supports both sides of the argument. I tend to try and find stuff from unbiased sources or that links to their information.

          • Jason412

            Aaron,

            From your report

            "Focusing on Mississippi, the only other state which has
            adopted an Rx-only law, there is so far only one data
            point on meth lab incidents since the adoption of its law
            in 2009"

            The law went into effect in 2010, not 2009. Absolutely zero credibility.

            Now that's the last I'll say about it

          • Aaron

            From 2004 to 2006 when the bill was introduced meth reductions were reduced by 89%. You take your numbers or the one from the cascade report and it's still 89%.

            Whether it's 50 seizures and half of the year or 67 seizures during the entire year during 2006 and doesn't change the fact that prior to the implementation of the bill the number of meth lab seizures was drastically reduced from several hundred to three or four per month.

            Your claim that the prescription ban is responsible for this reduction has been proven false, regardless of who's number to use. Your own information listed above proves what you're claiming is wrong.

            Even the GAO report is not firm on how effective the prescription requirement is. That report concludes "The prescription requirement appears to have contributed to the reduction of meth lab incidents but at what cost is unclear."

            The best the Government Accountability Office can do is say that the prescription requirement might have helped. If you look at the charts by the time 2006 rolls around in the bill becomes law reductions had began flatlining.

            It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the drops that were taking place under the federal government's actions prior to 2006.

            Your claim that the prescription requirement work is also disputed by the fact that meth reductions continued at a sharper decline in the states surrounding Oregon after Oregon implemented their law.

            Sorry dude but not even your numbers support your argument.

  • Dristan

    A big thank you to all you Walter White wanna be's, now we can't get a cold w/o having the vile reach of your rotten teeth breathing on us. We don't need laws to keep Meds off the shelves, we need strict laws to keep the dopers off the shelves. The plea bargaining that goes on in this state is a crime in itself.

  • Patchy

    Absolutely pathetic, but that's the low standard that lawmakers bloviating about the Peril Of The Current Session invariably adhere to.

    Mandatory keywords to choose from: police, children, safety, neighborhoods, saving lives.

    Holding a mirror to admire one's reflection while repeating this litany of cliches is not required, but will provide that extra bit of ego-boosting zest as another shovelful of dirt is thrown on common sense, convenience, and avoidance of the real problem.

    If Sam Cann would like, I'll take him on a guided tour of frequent and obvious illegal drug activity in his district - and Sudafed/meth will have nothing to do with it. Of course, it's hard for Cann or any other legislator to rely on the police when their chiefs and officers are resigning amid scandal and coverups.

    With the NSA revelations, these so-called protectors of our rights never want to discuss the real and potential abuse of all that data that is captured merely to obtain a small dose of cold medicine. It is the usual killing of an ant with a sledgehammer, made worse with all the nauseating moralistic lectures and martyrdom. "I'd rather lose an election etc." What selfless heroes.

    As with gun control, criminals are just that and ignore the law(s) already. Anyone intent on making meth will rely on another form of crime e.g. break-in, theft from delivery trucks, etc. in order to obtain the raw materials.

    Kirkendoll isn't even clever enough to realize he's contradicting his own crusade but then logic and self-awareness have always been thin on the ground in the legislature.

    • Teufel

      Well said

  • 2XLPatriot

    Mass punishment for the actions of the lawless few. Nanny state B.S.!

  • Big Hooptie

    Anyone with coon sense knows that this Bill is nothing more than government taking advantage of a social issue and turning it into a power grab.

    Just as with gun control, this bill punishes those who follow the law.

    I feel for those who will be required to pay for a dr visit just for sudafed.

    • GregG

      I too hate autocorrect but in this case I think it fit very well.

    • Big Hooptie

      Common sense. Curse you iPhone autocorrect.

      • Plopaganda

        Actually, it still works. I kinda like it.

        • Teufel

          I thought so too

  • Jay

    Cut down on meth by forcing more families to the ER for a common cold? That is some of the stupidest logic I've read in quite some time.

    Hey! McDonald's food is making people fat. Let's require a prescription for chicken nuggets!

  • Retireeee!!!!!

    There is a reason the toothbrush is not called a teethbrush in those hills. Quit blaming meth and bring dental plans back to the state!!!