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House And Senate Pass Bills Relying On Pharmacists To Help Curb Meth

Jessica Lucia

House and Senate lawmakers overwhelming approved bills Wednesday that give pharmacists a bigger role in helping stem the state’s meth cooking crisis.  The legislation deals with selling pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in making meth.

Rep. Ben Smaltz’s (R-Auburn) bill started out by simply requiring a prescription to buy pseudoephedrine.  But after significant pushback, Smaltz found a compromise. 

His bill says patients of record at a pharmacy can buy pseudoephedrine over the counter, just as they always have.  And Smaltz says new patients can only get a small amount of the cold medicine before needing a prescription.

“We don’t want to impact that hard-working, regular Hoosier who’s just sick,” Smaltz says. “But we want to hammer the meth cook.”

Republican Sen. Randy Head’s (R-Logansport) bill takes a slightly different path.  It would require pharmacists to question anyone who wants to buy pseudoephedrine.

“That pharmacist makes an on-the-spot decision whether they should get pseudoephedrine or not,” Head says. “The pharmacist makes the call.”

Smaltz’s bill passed 92-7; Head’s was approved 41-8.  

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