Governor Poised to Sign 'Meth' Bill

By: Lindsey Brown Email
By: Lindsey Brown Email

It appears a bill will be signed that will have a major impact on cold sufferers in Mississippi.

The House and Senate have both passed a bill making pseudoephedrine available only by prescription. Gov. Haley Barbour has said he'll sign the measure.

Pseudoephedrine is the main ingredient in the illegal drug methamphetamine.. Officials say they hope it will slow the manufacture of meth. But that could come at a price for consumers.

For years the pharmacist has been the gate keeper when it comes to regulating who buys pseudoephedrine cold products.

"It will definitely make it easier on the pharmacists," said Leslie Hull, pharmacist and owner of Medicap Pharmacy in Meridian. "The person buying it behind the counter has to get out a driver's license, give over life history, and put it in the computer. And by doing it by prescription it will be just a normal prescription."

Hull said it will also be more effective in keeping the drug out of the wrong hands.

"It will be a lot easier to track by prescriptions than just sold in pharmacies, than grocery stories and truck stops," said Hull. "Even if they were following the law and getting the information there just was no centralized data collection avenue there. Which there will be in the pharmacy."

But for you the customer just trying to get relief from a pesky cold, Hull says there are other over the counter products out there with phenylephrine as the main ingredient. Those products aren't as strong, but do work for many.

"Not quite as rapid a heart rate like you see with the pseudoephedrine. Phenylephrine doesn't seem to change their blood pressure as much," Hull said.

As for pharmacists, Hull said he doesn't believe it will affect business. Instead Hull believes many of the psaudoephedrine based products will be reformulated so they can actually go back on the shelves.

"They just reformulate, took the pseudoephedrine out and put the phenylephrine in. I don't think it will be a big cost increase like some are panicking about," said Hull.

If Gov. Barbour signs the legislation, it would go into effect
July 1.

A recent study found that about four percent of Mississippi's population has used meth. It makes up about 12% of all the state's drug cases, and about 6% of all the treatment center admissions in the state.

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