Senators Mike Green, left, and Art Kirkendoll discuss pending legislation as 60-day regular session neared a close Saturday night.
Photo by Martin Valent/WV Legislative Photography
Senators Mike Green, left, and Art Kirkendoll discuss pending legislation as 60-day regular session neared a close Saturday night.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The House of Delegates spent nearly four hours debating the meth bill during the last two days of the 60-day legislative session but in the end the bill died without a final vote.

Supporters of the legislation said making certain cold medicines more difficult to obtain would cut down on the making of meth in dangerous meth labs in parts of West Virginia. The prescription only idea was taken out in the House after being passed in the Senate but the House added a measure that would allow counties to have elections on the prescription-only issue.

The bill (SB 6) went to conference committee Saturday night and Del. Don Perdue said there was an agreement but it could not get to the members by the 9 p.m. deadline.

“At one point we thought we were very close but unfortunately ran out of time,” Perdue told MetroNews.

The delegate added the drug industry won the day.

“They did it on the strength on basically frightening West Virginians and frightening legislators,” he said.

The meth bill wasn’t the only bill to die Saturday night. The bill that would have opened the door for a pay raise for county elected officials for the first time in eight years failed after the Senate refused to agree with the House changes to the bill (SB 379). It was too late for the bill to go to a conference committee.

A bill that would change the way millions of dollars of excess lottery funds are allocated also died Saturday night. Senators passed the bill (HB 4333) with less than 15 minutes left in the session but the House never took it up.

The House spent more than two hours Friday amending the meth bill and almost that long Saturday discussing it before taking a vote and sending it to the Senate.

Del. John Shott supported the county referendum option.

“Implicit in the idea that one size doesn’t fit all is the idea that the people closest to the problem should the ability to form the solution,” Shott said.

Supporters want pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient in making meth and found in cold medicines like Sudafed and Claritin D, more difficult to purchase.

Pendleton County Del. Isaac Sponaugle warned the bill had flaws.

“If you vote yes on this you better be able to go back home and explain on what you voted for because I don’t think everybody here has a good understanding of it,” Sponaugle said.

Del. Perdue predicts now that the bill didn’t pass the meth lab problem would continue to spread to other counties.

“Just this last week there was a report of a meth lab in Morgan County, it’s first and a report in Preston County, it’s first. The fire was lit a good while back and it’s burning slowly and it will continue to burn,” Perdue said.

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Comments

  • Common sense

    Well they achieved wasting time on this waste of a bill and diverted attention to the medical cannabis bill that would have actually made a difference. Great job state government, you have done what you do best, nothing.

  • Rick55

    Awww.... I feel so sorry for users of this cold medicine to have to go to their doctors once a year. What an outrageous burdensome punishment!!! Wow!!! And thanks for all your medical/methmaking expertise. I guess all the addicts in Washington just didn't get the inservice on how to continue making and using meth, because the prescription law has pretty much STOPPED meth cooking there. I'm not sure why an annual visit to your doctor just to get a low-cost prescription is now going to cost $100. Enlighten me.

  • jay zoom

    a win for the druggies in this state just what we need.

  • JT

    As a year round allergy sufferer who depends on allergy medicine to breathe (this affects more than "cold" medicine) I can say I'm disapointed in any law further limiting the amount allowed. One I did favor was the prescription only, that way those of us with good jobs and insurance can get the meds we need. Punish the Dr's beyond that if there is still abuse because at that point it can only be obtained by a script. As far as meth heads? Let them kill themselves, we the honest public should not be held to substandard levels because of their scum.

  • Patchy

    Don Perdue throws a tantrum over fearmongering? He should take along look in the mirror Unfortunately, there appears to be the usual disproportionate percentage of suckers who believe a) laws stop criminals and b) inconveniencing the law-abiding and wrapping society in more red tape is an effective means of fighting crime.

    The official line is that they just ran out of time...I very much doubt it but any port in a storm when ineffective, onerous laws are kept off the books.

  • TLC

    Big drug companies win again. They are very good at convincing people their way is best. The people have lost again, even if they don't know it yet.

  • cw

    for all of those out there with a "clear head", the illegal drug makers thank you, the drug users thank you and the future drug users(our young children) thank you for not hindering our ability to easily make, sell and use this wonderful substance.

  • Ed

    Fruth's pharmacies have voluntarily stopped selling the main Meth ingredient in favor of another substance. With concern for stopping Meth, this business should be supported and consumers should encourage their local stores to do the same as Fruth's.

    • Aaron

      They sell Nexafed, which contains pseudo ephedrine.

      • TLC

        Your Point?

        • The bookman

          That Fruth achieves nothing by refusing to sell Sudafed when offering Nexafed as a substitute. Education is a wonderful thing.

          • Aaron

            There is a product in research and development that initial test in both the US and Great Britain. Initial testing of this product is promising, according to Dr. Dan Foster, a strong supporter of the prescription requirement.

          • The bookman

            Jason,

            Half the yield means they need twice the product. Most of this shake and bake meth goes right in the cook and his smurfs. The misnomer about Nexafed has always been this issue of its ability to impede extraction as a solution to these mobile labs. Most people digest the impede claims as a solution exemplified by the above posts. You and I know differently.

            The bill is dead. With another year to produce reliable scientific and statistically relevant data, maybe it will pas next session. The argument for this bill this session was not convincing enough to justify the change.

          • Jason412

            Half the meth means half the profit. To say it does nothing is untrue.

            Law abiding citizen's can also use it.

            Bookman how about what the lobbyist said on the radio the other day? Not a single child removed from a meth lab home since the legislation passed in Oregon. If that is true, that is about as good as you're going to get on proof that it works

          • The bookman

            Gus,

            As I have posted before, Nexafed us very effective in inhibiting the extraction of PSE in a large scale lab setting. The problem is that our PSE problems surround the small scale one pot method called shake and bake. According to Nexafed's website, it isn't as effective at inhibiting the extraction of PSE when utilizing the shake and bake method. The yield is lower, but the meth is produced unscathed. So the availability of PSE without prescription for the meth cook would have been the same had the bill passed. Instead of buying Sudafed, they would just buy Nexafed. Meanwhile, the law abiding customer would hand a prescription for Sudafed to the pharmacist.

          • Gus

            Delivers the same efficacy as other leading pseudoephedrine (PSE) products—such as Sudafed® (a registered trademark of Johnson & Johnson)—Nexafed temporarily relieves nasal congestion due to the common cold, hay fever or other upper respiratory allergies.1 But it does even more. Acura Pharmaceuticals’ Impede® technology disrupts the extraction and conversion of pseudoephedrine to methamphetamine.

            Why don't you get educated.

  • Ed

    Fruth's pharmacies have voluntarily stopped selling the main Meth ingredient in favor of another substance. With concern for stopping Meth this business sh

  • Rick

    The supporters of this legislation have their heart in the right place - but their implementation is so very wrong. Industry did NOT scare anyone....this bill would just raise the cost of treating the symptoms of a common cold - and the medicine is tracked by the DEA and very difficult to divert NOW. Why put another roadblock in? The only reason is ....... is that is what Government does BEST. The current system is working great; major meth labs are slowly becoming extinct, with only the personal consumptive "shake and bake" soda bottle "labs" operational now. To treat the symptoms of a common cold now costs under $10; why raise it to over $100? Consumers don't want it, patients don't want it, doctors don't want it. The bill, although with good intent was simply, stupid. Stupid. Stupid. For once, they got one right.

    • John

      I couldn't agree more. This is just another way to make honest, hardworking, people pay more and the dope heads get away stock free. Could you imagine how much burglary would increase if this bill had passed? Put another restrictive law on people that already have too many rules instead of throwing criminals in jail. I pay more and have more hassle and meth heads figure a way to keep going strong.

    • The bookman

      +1

  • WV Worker

    I guess the elected county officials didn't promise enough to that bunch in Charleston so they don't get a raise. Poor things, not a raise in 8 years, join the rest of the state workers. But don't worry I bet you anything that the pay raise bill and the excess lottery allocation will be in special session that will cost us more tax dollars.

  • jay zoom

    you can tell its an election year. the people in Charleston this year didn't do a damn thing for the state this year. and that's from A to Z.

  • pw

    I don't know about other areas of WV, but in my town, decongestants with the "evil" ingredient are kept behind the counter and cannot be purchased without "approval" from a doctor......I guess the pharmacists just went together and decided to do it this way.... so most of us just do without, rather than burden the doctors with such time consuming red tape.....

  • Independent View

    Del. John Shott supported the county referendum option. “Implicit in the idea that one size doesn’t fit all is the idea that the people closest to the problem should the ability to form the solution,” Shott said.
    Hogwash. The reason that most delegates supported the county referendum was because they did not want to alienate voters at home in an election year. Rather than demonstrate some intestinal fortitude, the "easy button" is a county by county referendum.
    Politics at its worst on display.

    • christopher

      Which also wasted time bettering the bill altogether. Classic stall tactic not to mention spineless.

      • Ronin

        By looking as if they really cared about a do-nothing bill, our legislators were able to avoid the question of legalizing medical cannabis, a question that quite a few states have answered sensibly and to their own benefit. But the big drug companies don't want competition, the cops don't want to give up easy-money grants, the drug-testing and for-profit prisons and rehab don't want to lose the easy income from victimless crime convictions and court-ordered rehab for people who aren't addicts. West Virginia leads the nation in overdose deaths for narcotics, and the state legislators keep locking WV's sick inside the narcotics merry-go-round.

  • Aaron

    I favored the House bill that cut in half the amount of pseudo ephedrine an individual can purchase along with extensive monitoring of purchases, both of which would do more than a prescription plan in reducing the number of meth labs.

    The Senate needs to take up reasonable measures that do not place undue and unnecessary measures on on citizens. Had they done that, a logical bill would have passed.