Proos working to protect communities from meth
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
LANSING – Sen. John Proos announced today that he is introducing legislation Tuesday to help stop meth production by cracking down on obtaining the drug’s main ingredient.
Methamphetamine, or meth, is a powerfully addictive stimulant that can be manufactured in homes using pseudoephedrine, a common ingredient in cold medications.
Last year, $1.3 million in federal funds were allocated to clean up methamphetamine crime scenes containing dangerous chemicals. In February, those funds ran out. No further money has been set aside for this purpose which leaves local municipalities to foot the bill.
“Our local communities have been especially hard hit by this drug, with the majority of meth labs in the state discovered in southwest and south central Michigan,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “I know that the safest way to protect our children and communities from the harmful impacts of meth is to stop a producer’s access to supplies. This approach will stop meth producers, while still allowing people to get the cold medicine they need.”
As chair of the Senate Appropriations Corrections and Judiciary subcommittees, Proos added: “I am also ensuring that Michigan supports the drug courts that help drug addicts by prescribing treatment instead of prison. This is the moral thing to do and will save tax dollars. For long-term success against meth, we must attack it by stopping the supply and also curtailing the demand.”
Proos’ measure would require retailers or pharmacies to consult an online system before selling products containing pseudoephedrine to make sure that the buyer has not exceeded a set limit. A companion bill, sponsored by Rep. Amanda Price, R-Holland, would enact a limit on the amount of pseudoephedrine a person can buy and require that the buyer show a valid ID.
The online system, called National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx), is a real-time electronic logging system used by pharmacies and law enforcement to track sales of over-the-counter cold and allergy medications containing precursors to methamphetamine. The National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators provides NPLEx at no cost to states that have legislation requiring real-time electronic monitoring of precursor purchases, and agree to use the system.
“Illinois is one of 13 states with this electronic tracking system in place, and Indiana is close to enacting similar legislation,” Proos said. “We currently have laws addressing this ingredient, but nothing to prevent meth manufacturers from going from store to store buying their supplies. This reform would change that.”
Editor’s Note – Audio comments by Sen. Proos are available on the senator’s webpage at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Podcasts.”