Want to cook some chicken? Looking to get some tickets to the Tina Turner show (I swear that’s an actual slang term for meth—click the link!)?
If Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signs a new bill designed to curb the manufacture of crystal methamphetamine, you’ll have to go to an actual pharmacy to buy the drugs you need to cook meth — no more fooling grocery store clerks or convenience store owners.
House Bill 363 requires that drugs containing meth precursors like ephedrine or pseudoephedrine be sold only in pharmacies and that they be kept behind the counter. The bill also limits the amount of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine-containing drugs a person can buy in a month to 7.5 grams (down from 9 grams), and requires that purchasers show certain forms of ID when purchasing such drugs.
“It’s important that we do everything we can to stop the manufacture and distribution of crystal meth in our state,” Alabama Sen. Bill Holtzclaw (R-Madison), one of the bill’s sponsors, said last week in a press release. “At the same time, we don’t want to burden our law abiding citizens by making this common drug difficult to obtain. This bill allows for that.”
The anti-meth bill received overwhelming bipartisan support in the Alabama Senate and in the House, where Rep. Blaine Galliher (R-Etowah) served as the primary sponsor.
Two groups who claimed to represent consumers of allergy and sinus drugs supported the bill, noting that it allows consumers access to ephedrine pseudoephedrine-containing drugs while limiting access to meth manufacturers. One early anti-meth bill made such drugs prescription only, but the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and a group called Stop Meth Not Meds in Alabama fought for access to ephedrine drugs for consumers. Drugs they represented included Sudafed, Claritin-D, Allegra-D, Mucinex-D and Advil Cold and Sinus.
“Members of the Alabama State Senate and House recognize that making significant strides against meth production and protecting responsible consumers’ access to affordable, quality healthcare do not have to be mutually exclusive goals,” Scott Melville, president and CEO of CHPA, said in a press release. “Now more than ever, with the spring allergy season at its peak, tens of thousands of Alabamans [sic] rely on safe and effective non-prescription medicines to get through their busy days. HB363 will allow these law-abiding citizens to continue to purchase those medicines and provide law enforcement officials with better tools to stop meth crime at its source.”
HB363 also allows Alabama law enforcement to make better use of the National Precursor Log Exchange, or NPLEx, system, which can be used to block the sale of pseudoephedrine drugs to drug offenders.
The bill is currently awaiting Gov. Bentley’s approval.