CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A leading public health official in West Virginia said CVS and other pharmacy chains are continuing to do what the state legislature has failed to do—addressing the meth making situation in the Mountain State.

CVS has announced its 50 stores in West Virginia are no longer selling cold medicines that have pseudoephedrine as a lone ingredient, mainly Sudafed. Psuedoephedrine is a main ingredient in making meth. The CVS ban also stretches to stores in other states within 15 miles of West Virginia’s border.

“In a lot of ways this is better than what the legislature could have done,” Dr. Gupta told MetroNews Monday. “That’s another instance in which the private sector is coming together to assist to protect the citizens of our state and the surrounding areas as well.”

State lawmakers supported the implementation of the NPLEx system a few years ago that tracks the purchases of the items but have balked at the idea of making some cold products prescription only.

Gupta said the private sector continues to step up. Walgreen’s has said it plans to ban sales of main ingredient pseudoephedrine products in the near future. Rite Aid and Fruth Pharmacy did so last year.

Dr. Gupta said the tamper resistant products that are now available are just as good for residents suffering from cold symptoms.

“And they can’t be converted into meth,” Gupta said.

CVS continues to make combination drugs available to its customers and many times those are used to make meth, although more difficult than main ingredient products.

Police agencies across West Virginia have seen a spike in heroin use but Dr. Gupta said he doesn’t believe that is a direct result to the crackdown on meth products. He said that’s more about the abuse of prescription drugs.

“Those are the people when they can’t find those particular prescription medications we see them moving on more to heroin and other street drugs than particularly methamphetamine,” Gupta said.




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  • Bill

    Whats next, first it was pain medication, now its allergy pills, lets face it, "the so called war on drugs" is a hoax, its a way for police to gain more and more control over the everyday persons life. It has been proven the more you lock up the more gets dirty, prisons are breeding grounds of drug culture.

  • Dumb Liberals

    Who is Gupta? Does he have a FIRST NAME or is it just dr.? The first question a journalist needs to answer in any article is WHO! If this guy is writing laws & dictating policy affecting everyone, then IDENTIFY him completely, not just by his last name. OK Jenkins? Does anyone proof these articles? Please indicate your educational background so prospective students can avoid your "higher education" facility because it appears the basics are not instilled.

    • ViennaGuy

      Dr. Rahul Gupta is the executive director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department. (yeah, I had to look it up)

      That being said, I'd like to know what qualifies him as a leading public health official in the state ...

      • Stupid Liberals

        It would appear that Rahul is a 2nd rate authority. Health department medical directors are usually the ones who can't make it in the real world as a REAL DOCTOR.

  • donutfiend77

    Dr. Gupta, well said!

  • Aaron

    “In a lot of ways this is better than what the legislature could have done,”

    That's not a shock and it is how this problem should be addressed, not through legislative action.

    "Police agencies across West Virginia have seen a spike in heroin use but Dr. Gupta said he doesn’t believe that is a direct result to the crackdown on meth products. He said that’s more about the abuse of prescription drugs."

    Police are seeing a spike in heroin because drug companies switched opiate based pain pills such as Oxycontin were reformulated to "prevent the medication from being cut, broken, chewed, crushed, or dissolved – methods that are used to circumvent the timed-release action of the medication."

    If the state really wishes to address either problem, they should look at providing treatment facilities instate for addicts as an in house treatment facility is about the difficult thing for an addict to find.

    • The bookman

      Did not Oregon see an increase in heroin use and a corresponding drop in meth lab seizures following their PSE ban? Cheap heroin flooding the market from Mexico? I have no problem with pharmacies choosing on their own to suspend selling anything, as it is their right as a private entity. Gupta is also dead wrong about the next generation PSE products, as they can be used to manufacture meth, just not in the same volume as primary PSE products like Sudafed.

      • Aaron

        I honestly do not know. But I do know from research on addiction is that have a drug of choice and while some will switch drugs, most stick with what they became addicted to it as each drug has different "highs."

        I also know heroin saw a spike in use after tamper proof methods limited the supply of pain pills.

        • Bill

          I believe a lb.of "glass" out of Mexico cost $ 50.00. Wait till that hits the streets of WV, the cops will wish they had the allergy pills back, lets face it, if they can't get it one way, they 'll get it another.

  • Jim

    I do like the single ingredient pseudoephedrine products, and there is a valid reason for stores to sell them. Alllegra treats alergy symptoms. Pseudoephedrine treats congestion. If I've got congestion without allergy symptoms, a Sudefed is the right thing to take. And don't get me started on phenylephrine (to be brief, it is ineffective).

  • Jason412

    Look at any meth bust where they've recovered the ingredients, and it's always Claritin-D or Allegra-D. I find it hard to believe they're harder to cook into meth if people were choosing to buy those instead of Sudafed, when Sudafed was still available at every pharmacy.

    But I do commend these companies for taking a step in the right direction.