Meth-fighting bill moves forward in state legislature

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A bill that prosecutors say would help fight the meth epidemic across the state is moving forward at the Statehouse.

Also known as the “Pseudoephedrine Prescription Bill,” it aims to make it harder for people who cook meth to buy the ingredients at pharmacies. Right now it prevents people convicted of meth or drug offenses from buying ephedrine and pseudoephedrine without a prescription.

In Delaware County, officials say the drug problem is continuing to get worse every year. In 2012, 62 meth labs were dismantled. The following year, police stopped 115 meth labs. In 2014, 148 meth labs we broken up and in 2015, 234.

Since 2013, Delaware County Prosecutor Jeff Arnold says he has worked with the mayor of Muncie to try and create a zero tolerance policy on meth cooking. He also created programs to educate the community and harsher punishments for abusers thinking that could stop the problem. But as you can see by the numbers, it hasn’t worked.

Arnold says prosecutors and police need more help from the legislature. Arnold also says there are other medical options for people to use instead of pseudoephedrine.

“There’s also pseudoephedrine that you cannot cook into meth,” said Arnold. “It’s a little bit more expensive (30 cents)  but how expensive is that compared to the tax toll.”

Arnold also says this bill will save taxpayers a lot of money. It takes eight hours to dismantle the lab — a hazmat crew needs to be called in and dismantling it all is a huge expense to tax payers.

“Eventually if the numbers continue with Indiana leading the nation in meth cooking the only way to deal with that is a legislative fix we’ve got to have help from the legislation,” Arnold said.

More than 300 children were taken out of meth lab environments last year and they usually only leave with the clothes on their back.

Senate Bill 161, requiring drug offenders to have a prescription to purchase ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, moves on to the House. If it becomes law, it would take effect on July 1.

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