Efforts to curb meth production raise questions - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Efforts to curb meth production raise questions


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB Fox 41) -- Some members of local law enforcement agencies are urging Kentucky lawmakers not to support a proposed bill aimed at curbing meth-making. A bill being considered would require a doctor's prescription for any product that contains pseudoephedrine, the ingredient used to make meth. Opponents say it's an idea that works in theory, but not in the real world.

Major Tony King has been busting drug dealers for more than three decades and says one of the most effective tools he's ever used is a database called Meth Check.

It tracks pseudoephedrine purchases in real-time, flags people who buy too much, and is now used in ten states.

"When you can detect who's buying the pseudoephedrine, you can find the labs," said Maj. Tony King, Jefferson County's Sheriff's Office.

Recent numbers, argue otherwise.

According to a recent study by the Associated Press, meth-related activity is up 65% in Kentucky over the past two years. That has prompted lawmakers to consider requiring people to get a prescription before they get pseudoephedrine.

Mississippi and Oregon have passed similar laws and both report a drastic drop in meth activity. But prescriptions would put an end to Meth Check and King argues that requiring a doctor's note hasn't curbed the abuse of other drugs.

"If they can get prescriptions for boycotting, this same type of individual is going to be able to obtain prescriptions for pseudoephedrine," said King.

"This is the best way to regulate not just pseudoephedrine, but any substance in the country," said Jim Acquisti, Appriss.

Acquisti works for Appriss, the company that runs the tracking system. He admits they have a financial interest in this debate, but claims a prescription requirement punishes many for the crimes of a few, and would only increase health care costs.

"If they were sick and had to go to the doctor, they would have to pay the doctor, their insurance provider would have to pay the doctor, if they're on a state health care plan, then the state pays the doctor for them," said Acquisti.

King says without tracking, meth-related activity will go down on paper, but only because law enforcement will be a step behind.

"I feel that drug labs are still going to be there, we just won't be able to find them," said King.

Supporters of the prescription requirement argue that the tracking system encourages more people to get involved in meth-making.

They say manufacturers are constantly recruiting people who have not been flagged in the system.

The topic is expected to a be a hotly debated topic when the legislature returns next month.

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