Officials Question Pseudoephedrine As A Prescription
by Chris Conte
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A new report out by the state Comptroller out on Thursday found that a statewide system used to track the purchases of pseudoephedrine isn't doing enough to stop meth labs across the state.
"It's an addiction based drug, they're not doing this to make money, they're doing this to get high," says Michael Pate who works for the 23rd District Drug Task Force.
According to Agent Pate, the system known as NPlex is incredibly helpful when it comes to tracking who is buying pseudoephedrine and how often. But he believes limiting the quantities people can buy only pushes addicts to find more people to help them get pseudoephed from a pharmacy since it's the main ingredient used for making methamphetamine.
"If you make this a prescription only, you are gonna put Meth labs out of business," he says.
His opinion is shared in part by some state lawmakers, however there is concern that making the drug a prescription would drive up the price and make in unfairly difficult for legitimate allergy sufferers to easily get the drug for relief.
"To just make every body go get a prescription for it is kind of throwing the baby out with the bath water so to speak, it's a hurdle we shouldn't have to go through," says Rep. David Shepard of the 69th District.
Shepard is also a pharmacist but he says that if the current system isn't working, he would consider legislation that would make pseudoephedrine only available with a prescription.
"If the database isn't working and they give us information to lead us to that decision then that's really our only other option is to require a prescription for it."