Updated: Thursday, 24 Jan 2013, 10:55 AM EST
Published : Wednesday, 23 Jan 2013, 7:22 PM EST
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Indiana lawmakers are exploring newer, stiffer crackdowns on makers of methamphetamine, and all deal with the chief ingredient used in the making of the illegal drug: pseudo-ephedrine.
At least two Hoosier lawmakers are touting renewed restrictions on the amount of pseudo-ephedrine any consumer, law-abiding or not, can buy at the drug store. Under current Indiana law, all shoppers must present a photo ID when purchasing any medicine containing pseudo-ephedrine; and everyone is held to a strict purchasing limit of 7.2 grams per month.
But State Representative Ron Bacon, (R-Chandler), is pitching a more extreme idea of requiring a doctor's prescription for anyone in the state to purchase any form of pseudo-ephedrine. It's a not-so-novel idea backed entirely by Terre Haute Police Department Sergeant Chris Gallagher, a former narcotics detective with the Vigo County Drug Task Force.
Gallagher will even tell you, don't take his word for it; consider the passage of identical laws in states like Oregon, in 2006, and Mississippi in 2010.
"And what you're seeing there are not only drastic reductions in meth labs and meth arrests, you're seeing lower crimes rates," Sgt. Gallagher said in an interview with News 10. "And there's all sorts of data showing that this (law) is effective."
Gallagher even testified before a House sub-committee in Indianapolis two years ago, alongside Terre Haute pharmacist and pharmacy store owner Ron Vencel. Vencel implemented a strict in-store policy, at all four of his J-R Pharmacies that does exactly what Bacon's measure would move to do: require a doctor's order for the purchase of pseudo-ephedrine on any level.
As much as the two Terre Haute men admire Bacon's idea, and continue to push for reform, this "R-X Required" concept does have its share of critics: including 71 percent of Americans, according to a 2010 study done by the national Allergy Foundation.
The Indiana State Medical Association also stands firmly against the measure.
"It's going to over-burden our offices with patients trying to get in and get a prescription," Dr. Richard Feldman, with ISMA, shared with reporters just this week. "It's going to encumber and burden our patients with increased costs. And, the last thing we want to do these days is increase the cost of medical care."
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