CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The president of the West Virginia Retailers Association said there’s no need to make pseudoephedrine a prescription-only medication. Bridget Lambert stressed if you look at the latest data it proves NPLEx is working.

In an effort to reduce the amount of meth labs popping up all over the state the legislature in 2012 passed a bill that reduced the amount of pseudoephedrine individuals could buy and put the medication behind the counter. NPLEx tracks the person and amount of pseudoephedrine that are purchased. Once someone has reached their limit, they are red-flagged.

Lambert said since NPLEx was put into place Jan. 1, 2013, meth lab incidents have decreased by 27 percent and pseudoephedrine sales have declined by 35 percent. In Kanawha County alone, that decrease is 75 percent.

“It demonstrates the policies that were put into place in the past two to three years as well as law enforcement and retail vigilance we’re seeing from our members is having a positive impact on addressing the meth problem in West Virginia,” according to Lambert.

She said those calling for a bill to make pseudoephedrine prescription only really need to look at those new numbers.

“We felt if (NPLEx) was given time to prove itself it would,” Lambert said. “It appears that time has arrived.”

She said the goal has always been to keep the drug out of the hands of addicts who turn it from a medication into an illegal substance. She stands firm that honest, law-abiding West Virginians shouldn’t be punished for the crimes of a few.

“Let’s not penalize hard working, West Virginia consumers who would have to take time off from work, incur a doctor’s visit and the cost and a prescription for a medicine that is a safe, over the counter allergy relief. There is no reason to make that a prescription,” Lambert said.

However, there is one piece of legislation that Lambert would like to see passed when it comes to meth.

“One control that we have been asking for and continue to ask for from the retail industry is a meth offender registry,” she explained. “Let’s address the meth problem with the meth criminal.”

Lambert believes the longer NPLEx is in place the fewer meth labs law enforcement will have to bust.

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  • Bibi

    They can talk as loudly as they want about the "success" of NPLex, but the fact is, in other states that rely mostly on NPLex for meth lab prevention, the numbers go down briefly, but then, as more smurfs come on board, the numbers go back up. Also -- these labs are literally EVERYWHERE in WV. Check out our map: The old argument about "extra money for rx and doctors fees" is getting stale. The fact is, with at least two good tamper-resistant pseudoephedrine products readily available, NOBODY would have to go to the doctors for these meds: these tamper-resistant products are over the counter, and would remain so as last year's bill was written.

    • The bookman

      The smurfs can use Nexafed to create the meth. It takes twice the amount to yield the same quantity of the drug utilizing the one pot method of extraction. Let law enforcement utilize the tracking mechanism that NPLex provides and root out the criminals. The info regarding Nexafed can be found on their website.

      • Jason412

        I'd still like to know how LEO can utilize the tracking mechanism to root out the criminals. If someone is not constantly hitting the limit there are no red flags that differs them from any citizen with allergies.

        The woman on Talkline says people that have been blocked aren't returning to the pharmacy. Do you think they were blocked and just decided to give up their drug addiction right there on the spot or do you think they were blocked and went and got someone else to buy it?

        I would also add the fact that Nplex has lead to a 35% reduction in PSE purchases, yet meth labs are still everywhere, reinforces my point that the majority of people buying PSE are using it for meth.

        At least 7 1/2 out of 10 people in Kanawha county were using it for meth, how many of those remaining 2 1/2 out of 10 are just using smurfs and still using it for meth?

        • The bookman

          Assuming you're correct that most PSE purchases are smurfs acquiring for meth production, NPLex provides a detailed listing of those making the purchases. The LEOs may access that data and evaluate it for suspicious patterns. It is also an important tool that establishes an evidence trail admissible in court. It works, and it is a level of restriction that is acceptable to the law abiding public. For someone who rails against the Patriot Act and the usurpation of freedoms that is associated with it, why do you continue to support a prescription for a safe over the counter medication when it is already restricted and tracked by law enforcement and pharmacists?

          • The bookman

            I make no assumptions about its usefulness to Law Enforcement.

            Here is what they say:


            I'm all for personal responsibility. I think it is acceptable to make reasonable restrictions on PSE availability in an effort to fight meth. Prescription only is unacceptable and too far. Other than reading local reports about wasted lives, I haven't been directly impacted by it, and that probably impacts my thinking. You have made no secret that the issue is closer to you and people you know, and I think that impacts your decision making as well. Hopefully the trend of Meth abuse continues its decline and this issue resolves itself. I just hope a worse drug affliction doesn't take its place.

          • Jason412

            "The LEOs may access that data and evaluate it for suspicious patterns."

            Assuming the police have the manpower to do that, that is where my question arises how do they effectively root out criminals? If I buy 2 boxes of Claritin-D a month for my allergies, and a meth cook has 10 smurfs buy 2 boxes each the patterns would be the same.

            I'm not seeing how the police could make a distinction between my legitimate use, and smurfs' illegitimate use.

            The evidence trail is another thing circumvented by smurfs. If the person buying it isn't the person cooking it, there would be no evidence provided by Nplex to use in court.

            My alternative suggestion to prescription-only would be to have the FDA do something similar to what was done with Purdue Pharma's formula for Oxycontin. All PSE products, not just Nexafed and Zephrex, are made tamper-resistant. Over time, I'm sure with effort and investment, that could be changed to tamper-proof.

            Honestly, I would prefer the latter of the two so that PSE is still easily acquirable for legitimate purposes, but since that option hasn't even been discussed I would say the chances of that are minimal. Factoring in the power Big Pharma has in our government reduces the chances of that option to all but non-existent.

            If Nplex leads WV to meth lab figures seen in the prescription-only states I say good. If the numbers don't get much better than this, I say it's time for a new approach.

            Prescription-only and the Patriot Act are apples and meth, very dissimilar.

  • northforkfisher

    This one of those things that is hard to find the right answer. A registration would be a good idea by having a data base when the driver license or name is entered it would flag them. I know their will be people who find a way around it, but a large amount would be stopped. By doing this, the people who really need it wouldn't have to shell out extra money for prescriptions and doctors fees.

  • JTL

    No, it absolutely is not working because someone like myself who has severe allergies and takes 4 allergy shots a week cannot get the meds I need to go along with the shots. Some people actually need these medications and the legislature limiting is who actually need it is doing nothing but keeping us sick. Meth labs? At this point I say let them do what they want, poison themselves, die in a meth lab explosion or whatever then the problem is solved for good.

    • Bibi

      Also? Are you so sure you do'nt care where the labs are? They could be right in your neighborhood, in your local Walmart parking lot, or in the car in front of you on the highway. Every single one of these labs is an accident waiting to happen. Don't you care about the children who have to live in those homes with labs? Last year's bill included an exemption for tamper resistant meds such as Nexafed, which contain exactly the same formulation as the other pseudoephedrine -- just in a tamper resistant form.

    • BH

      Crystal methamphetamine doesn't just harm the users. Their children, their extended family and the community all suffer the consequences of this terrible addiction.

    • Aaron

      You can get a prescription to exceed the limit.