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Police, Prosecutors Renew Effort To Require Cold Med Scrips

Jessica Lucia

Police and prosecutors are renewing a call to require a prescription for cold remedies containing psuedoephedrine.

The decongestant is a key ingredient in methamphetamine. Indiana already limits how much pseudoephedrine a person can buy at once, and maintains a database of how much has been purchased. Police, though, argue the rise in the number of Hoosier meth labs has been unimpeded.

Auburn Representative Ben Smaltz says the law won't keep people from using meth. But he says making the illegal drug harder to manufacture would carry significant budgetary and social benefits. 

Smaltz says nearly 400 children were removed last year from homes where their guardians had been cooking meth, And he says cities and counties have had to spend millions in hazmat cleanups on meth lab sites or places where the materials have been discarded.

Bedford senator Brent Steele says even though similar bills have failed in the past, legislators may be ready to act. 

"The difference is that everybody thought that what we did in the past in the legislation wouldn't maybe make a difference," he says. "And you're finding that your meth usage is not going down, it's just static."

Opponents of the bill predict health costs will soar if a doctor's visit is required every time someone has a cold.

Prosecutors say that hasn't happened in Mississippi and Oregon, the two states which have already made the change. And the bills authored by Smaltz and Steele would include an exemption for relatively new pseudoephedrine compounds which can't be converted into meth without a sophisticated grasp of chemistry.

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