House panel OKs “meds for meth” bill; chair predicts passage

The bill to limit purchases of the cold medicine used to make methamphetamine cleared another legislative hurdle Monday, and the chairman of the committee that approved it predicted that it will become law despite a heavy lobbying effort by over-the-counter drug makers.

By a 10-4 vote, the House Judiciary Committee approved a version of Senate Bill 3 that differs slightly from the version passed by the Senate. Rep. John Tilley, a Hopkinsville Democrat and the committee’s chairman, predicted the revised SB 3 will pass on the House floor. “Tilley said Senate leaders have signed off on the changes the House committee made,” Jack Brammer reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The House version clarifies “language regarding prescriptions” and would ban “criminals convicted of meth-related offenses from purchasing pseudoephedrine for a five-year period,” Mike Wynn of The Courier-Journal reports.

The core of the bill would allow consumers without meth records to buy 7.2 grams of medicines with pseudoephedrine each month, approximately a two-week dose, and up to 24 grams per year, without a prescription. Another 7.5 grams a month or 90 grams a year could be available with a prescription. “Experts have testified that those amounts are adequate for most cold and allergy sufferers, and more than 90 percent of all purchasers use dosages that fall below the proposed thresholds,” Wynn reports. “State law already limits purchases to 9 grams per month, with a yearly cap of 108 grams, and purchasers are required to present a photo ID and sign a log at the point of sale.”

The bill would not apply to gelcaps, which are more difficult to use for meth, or liquids, which are used for children. (Read more)

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