(TOPEKA, Kan.)—A bill that would require a doctor's prescription to purchase medications like Sudafed - D and Claritin- D received a hearing at the State house Monday. The bill aims to reduce access to one of the key ingredients in Methamphetamine, called pseudoephedrine.
A statewide database was developed in 2009 to help pharmacies track information about pseudoephedrine sales and should be fully functioning soon, but supporters of the bill say that meth producers have already found away to work around the database.
Smurfing is a practice where Meth dealers pay people to purchase the daily Sudafed limit and return it to the meth lab. Police chiefs also say they are seeing new production methods that require less pseudoephedrine.
Supporters also testified that the national Drug Enforcement Agency announced in February that they will no longer pay for meth lab "clean up", passing $365,000 in expenses to local cities and counties, in addition to the cost of investigation, incarceration and social services.
Opponents of the bill cite inconvenience to patients who will need to contact a doctor for the prescription. A spokesperson from the Washington D.C. based Consumer Healthcare Products Association that represents a number of pharmaceutical companies, says the electronic tracking systems have worked in other states and that "policy makers need strike the right balance between preventing illegal pseudoephedrine sales and protecting access to needed medications."
Kansas currently limits purchases of pseudoephedrine based medications each day but last year Kansas law enforcement discovered over 143 meth labs and believe they only found the tip of the ice berg. Top Kansas law enforcement said that even when the electronic tracking system is operating fully, the lack of resources will make it difficult to effectively police meth labs in Kansas.
Opponents of the bill will testify at the State house Tuesday.