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.