Senate panel votes 6-5 to approve bill aimed at meth that requires pseudoephedrine prescriptions

02/16/2012 11:13 AM

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday narrowly approved the proposal to require Kentuckians to get prescriptions for cold medicines with pseudoephedrine in order to restrict access to a key ingredient in methamphetamine.

Senate Bill 50 , sponsored by Senate Republican Floor Leader Robert Stivers, would exempt pseudoephedrine in liquid gel cap form.

The committee voted 6-5 in favor of the legislation. Voting for it were Stivers and Senate Judiciary Chairman Tom Jensen, as well as their fellow Republican senators, Carroll Gibson of Leitchfield and Brandon Smith of Hazard plus Democratic Sens. Ray Jones of Pikeville and Robin Webb of Grayson. Voting against the bill were Republican Sens. John Schickel of Union and Katie Stine of Southgate and Dan Seum of Louisville as well as Democratic Sens. Jerry Rhoads of Madisonville and Perry Clark of Louisville.

The bill has sparked fierce debate as some, including drug makers and free market advocates, object to putting the cold and allergy medicine behind the counters. They have argued that it unfairly punishes law abiding citizens by requiring them to go to the doctor — which costs $10-$25 in copay fees — to get a prescription for the medicine.

Supporters of the bill have said that step is necessary to keep meth makers from getting access to the key ingredient. The committee on Thursday heard from Melanda Adams, a former addict from Clay County, who talked about how crucial pseudoephedrine was for the drug and why meth addicts were so committed to going around current barriers, such as the Meth Check registry system:

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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