Why should cold medication be regulated as a controlled substance?

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-112369592910708.jpg’, ”, ‘Paul Logli’);

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) at its recent board of directors meeting passed a resolution stating that it believes the most effective way of reducing the abuse and use of “precursor chemicals”—or those chemicals used in the production of illegal drugs such as methamphetamine—is to enact complementary federal and state laws that regulate and govern current available over-the-counter drugs. Many medications for the common cold contain pseudoephedrine—a key chemical used to illegally produce methamphetamine—more commonly referred to as Meth.

While NDAA supports the passage of federal laws to regulate the use of precursor chemicals, it recognizes that enactment of such federal laws should not pre-empt existing state laws that may be more restrictive and effective. In other words, states that have enacted precursor legislation that is more restrictive than federal laws that may be passed, should not be required to adhere to the less restrictive federal laws. For example, in April 2004, Oklahoma implemented a statute that not only schedules pseudoephedrine as a Schedule V controlled substance, but also requires that pseudoephedrine products be sold only from behind the counters of pharmacies, under the supervision of a registered pharmacist, in limited quantities, to properly identified buyers who must sign a register. Following the implementation of this legislation, the number of Meth labs seized in Oklahoma dropped by approximately 80 percent. If the U.S. Congress were to pass a federal law that pre-empts state laaws, and the federal law were less restrictive and effective than the current law in Oklahoma, the state of Oklahoma would have no choice but to abide by the less effective federal law. Any law passed by the federal government to regulate and govern the use of precursor chemicals should not infringe on the rights of states that have passed stronger laws. Additionally, companies such as Target, Wal-Mart and Albertson’s should be recognized for their leadership in acting on their own to regulate and track the purchase of cold medicines containing pseudophedrine.

Meth is being manufactured and used in epidemic proportions throughout America. “Those who manufacture and use Meth are ruining their lives and dancing with death,” said Paul A. Logli, president of NDAA and Winnebago County State’s Attorney. Logli further said: “Meth is easy to manufacture. For example, it can be produced by those who own sophisticated ‘Super-Labs’ as well as less sophisticated ‘Mom & Pop Labs’ and by teen-agers in the bathrooms and basements of their homes. Meth production and use is a national crisis. People of all socio-economic groups are using this dangerous and deadly drug. For these reasons, NDAA strongly supports the passage of complementary federal and state laws that regulate and govern the manufacture, distribution and retail sale of precursor chemicals.”

The NDAA represents approximately 30,000 precursors nationally. State and local prosecutors are responsible for trying more than 95 percent of all criminal cases in America.

From the Aug. 10-16, 2005, issue

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