Crack-downs on meth ingredients in KY might increase trafficking from out of state, official says

01/06/2011 07:17 PM

Legislation that would make it tougher for people to purchase a key ingredient in methamphetamine could have an unintended consequence of increasing trafficking of meth from surrounding states, the state’s Justice and Public Safety Cabinet secretary said.

J. Michael Brown said Gov. Steve Beshear and the administration is still weighing whether to publicly back proposed legislation that would require prescriptions for individuals to get pseudoephedrine, which is currently monitored but still sold over the counter. Rep. Linda Belcher, D-Shepherdsville, filed House Bill 15 on Jan. 4, the first day of the 2011 General Assembly.

“The governor is going to have to look closely at the details of them,” Brown said on Thursday’s edition of Pure Politics.

While he said he supports moves to cut down on meth labs, which he called “mini-Chernobyls,” Kentucky must be careful not to create a bigger problem for law enforcement agents by shifting criminal activity to trafficking from surrounding states.

“I don’t want to necessarily take a step that would bring about a whole new generation of traffickers,” he said.

Brown also fielded questions about another justice-related bill that would require someone convicted of a DUI to have an ignition interlock breathalyzer device installed on their vehicle.

Rep. Dennis Keene, D-Wilder, on Tuesday filed House Bill 58 aimed at doing that.

Brown also discussed further some of the lessons officials learned last year from working with the Pew Center for the States on revamping Kentucky’s penal code. Brown described some of the forthcoming recommendations from that task force on the Dec. 17 edition of Pure Politics.

Among the surprising revelations offered by Pew officials was that data showed programs that use fear as a motivator such as Scared Straight aren’t effective at keeping former convicts from landing back in prison.

He said the state might consider adding to the ranks of parole officers to increase monitoring of recently-released prisoners.

- Ryan Alessi

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