Police And Prosecutors Fear Pseudoephedrine Bill Won't Pass

Tuesday, March 15th 2011, 5:16 pm
By: News On 6

Lori Fullbright, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma – Police officers and district attorneys all over the state are worried the pseudoephedrine bill will be killed before it can even be voted on.

The bill would make pseudoephedrine a prescription only drug, like it used to be.  It has passed out of committee but may get blocked from a full vote in the House.

3/7/2011 Related Story: Tulsa Police Support Bill To Curb Meth Production In Oklahoma

Pseudoephedrine is the key ingredient in many allergy medicines as well as in meth.

Two states have already passed that law, and Oklahoma is one of 16 states trying to so.

Another house caught on fire in Tulsa Monday night because people were cooking meth inside.  Officers say the cooks had 12 different bottles going at once.

This one lab will cost taxpayers thousands of dollars for the cleanup and disposal of the chemicals, not to mention the cost to society in the way of prison time, counseling, and children taken into state custody.

3/4/2011 Related Story: State To Take Over Cost Of Meth Lab Cleanup

Police say making pseudoephedrine prescription only is the only way to stop the problem.

They say Oregon passed a similar law four years ago and had a 96 percent decrease in meth labs and crime dropped to a 50 year low.

"I don't think most people realize it's not just in certain parts of Tulsa, it's everywhere," an undercover drug officer with Tulsa Police, said. "It's in the suburbs, it's in Broken Arrow, Claremore, Owasso and it's going to affect more and more people all the time."

Some legislators say it's not fair to make law abiding citizens get a prescription because of the actions of criminals. However, police say people could get five refills at a time, which means at most, two doctor visits a year.

"I'm a strong individual rights person as well, but, even for people who argue for small government, the government is there to protect people and provide safety and this is a safety deal," the officer said.

The pharmaceutical companies are lobbying hard against the bill, since it would impact their $550 million a year bottom line. Drug officers say it will be devastating if legislators don't pass this bill.

"My prediction, if the law doesn't pass, Tulsa will have 400 meth labs in 2011," the undercover officer said.

Speaker of the House Kris Steele is the one who can keep the bill from being voted on by the House.

He told News On 6 Tuesday that he's committed to reducing meth, but also interested in protecting people's rights to affordable health care products. He said a lot of questions have been raised about the effect this law could have on citizens.