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Legislative Leaders Consider Supporting Pseudoephedrine Prescription Bill To Curb Meth Problem

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Legislative leaders say they‘re ready to support requiring prescriptions for cold remedies such as Sudafed, to prevent drug dealers from using it to make methamphetamine.

But rank-and-file legislators may not be ready to go along.   

State law already limits how much medication containing pseudoephedrine a person can buy, and requires pharmacies to keep it behind the counter.

But Indiana still led the nation in meth lab busts in 2013, and House Speaker Brian Bosma says he’s now convinced the state needs to go further.

"You have folks from a county that I won't identify that say 92% of the folks that are in their jail are there on crimes related to meth," says Bosma. "Either they're selling it or they're buying it or they're stealing to buy it. I think it's compelling."

Opponents argue the change would inconvenience law-abiding consumers and drive up health care costs.

Last month, Bedford Republican Senator Brent Steele crafted legislation striking a bargain: police would have five years to cut the number of meth lab busts to 400, a level Indiana hasn‘t seen since 1999. If that doesn’t happen, it would trigger a four-year trial period for pseudoephedrine as a prescription drug.

But senators voted 32-17 to strip that provision before sending the bill to the House.

Meth lab busts declined 18-percent last year, the first drop in eight years. But the decline would have to accelerate to 23-percent a year to bring the total down to 400 by Steele‘s deadline.