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Cold Medicine Prescriptions, Harsher Meth Dealer Sentences To Get Statehouse Scrutiny

Melanie Holtsman

A discussion of how to bring Indiana's meth trade under control will include not only a long-running prescription debate, but consideration of harsher sentences for meth cooks.

Meth dealers currently face anywhere from 1-30 years in prison, with the specific range depending on how much of the drug they sell or manufacture.

The top range is reserved for meth cooks who make more than 10 grams of the drug -- about a third of an ounce -- or whose meth labs explode, regardless of how much of the drug they make.

Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says the House will take review whether those penalties are enough for the worst offenders.

“Chairman [Greg] Steuerwald [R-Danville] has committed to take a hard look at sentencing for those who are deeply entrenched in the sale of these terrible substances and to be sure, despite all the work that’s happened over several years on sentence reform, that the punishment fits the crime,” Bosma says.

That discussion will come less than two years after Indiana overhauled its sentencing laws, in part to deemphasize prison time for drug offenses.

Bosma says the state can't ignore the human toll the drug is taking. He and Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) are throwing their weight behind the long-running push to require prescriptions for over-the-counter cold remedies containing pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in meth. But both acknowledge it's an issue that divides their caucuses and leadership support won't necessarily translate to a majority if a bill comes to a vote.

“I can’t speak for my entire caucus,” Lanane says. “But, I think most of us favor the idea of taking whatever’s necessary to make sure that people do not have access to those ingredients that are necessary to make meth.”

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