Weakened pseudoephedrine bill heads to House floor

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — He admits it’s only half a loaf of bread, but House Speaker Tim Miley (D-Harrison, 48) said the new House version of the bill addressing pseudoephedrine — a key ingredient in meth — does make some changes designed to reduce meth making in the Mountain State.

“I’ve learned, long ago when I entered political office, that half a loaf is, oftentimes, better than no loaf.  You rarely get the entire loaf that you want, so half a loaf is half a loaf or three-quarters a loaf, better than nothing,” said Miley on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

In this case, the half a loaf members of the House Judiciary Committee removed from SB 6 on Tuesday night is the requirement for prescriptions for medications containing pseudoephedrine.  The original bill allowed for tamper-resistant products to be available without prescriptions.

With the new version of the bill, only people convicted of drug crimes would be required to get those prescriptions for the medications containing pseudoephedrine.  For everyone else, there will be new limits on medication purchases.  Instead of the current 48 grams, purchases will be limited to 24 grams each year.

House Health Committee Chairman Don Perdue (D-Wayne, 19), a long-time supporter of the bill requiring prescriptions for everyone, said he’s disappointed.  He said those in the pharmaceutical industry, who opposed the prescription requirement, clearly won.

“They were able to get a message out that we could not rebut and, if legislators accept the fact that someone can do that, let me tell you something, it will happen again,” he said.

Perdue continued, “I was not surprised by the industry’s posture and the amount of money they spent to create a really negative scenario, but I was surprised by the depth and length that they applied that kind of media presence.”  He promised to continue to pursue the legislation.

A survey, commissioned by the West Virginia Intervention on Meth Labs Committee and released on Wednesday, showed overwhelming support for the stronger legislation when those questioned were told of its success in Oregon.

More than 53 percent of those questioned said they supported the prescription requirement in the poll from PMI, Inc. which involved 901 frequent West Virginia voters.

The reworked meth bill heads to the House floor with just a few days left in the 2014 Regular Legislative Session.





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