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.