The state’s drug czar wants new sales restrictions for most of those nondrowzy cold medications like Sudafed that contain an ingredient that meth-makers need to manufacture the illegal drug. Iowa Drug Policy Coordinator Marvin Van Haaften wants “pseudoephedrine” classified as a “controlled substance” which means you’d have to show an I-D to a pharmacist and sign a form before you could buy it. Van Haaften says you would no longer be able to buy over-the-counter cold medications with pseudoephedrine in a convenience store or most grocery stores because it would have to be obtained from a pharmacist. However, you would not need a prescription. Van Haaften says the reason he’s suggesting the change is because pseudoephedrine is the one ingredient you absolutely have to have to make meth. Other ingredients can be substituted, but not pseudoephedrine. Iowa would become the first state to take such a move. Other states have limited the amount of over-the-counter cold meds folks can purchase at one time. Van Haaften says limiting the quantity that can be purchased isn’t having a dramatic effect in reducing the number of meth labs in other states, like Missouri, that have tried that approach. Van Haaften says his proposal — requiring a photo i-d and registration with a pharmacist for the purchase of pseudoephedrine — has already been tried with success with ephedrine, as he says it’s now classified as a “controlled substance” and Iowa law officers tell him they no longer find meth labs using ephedrine.Van Haaften says meth manufacturers are “very paranoid.” He says “they don’t want to have to show a drivers license or identify themselves.” Van Haaften says a recent University of Northern Iowa survey showed him Iowans would be willing to buy their non-prescription cold meds from a pharmacist.Van Haaften says 82 percent of Iowans said showing a photo I-D when making a purchase is of little or no inconvenience if they’re doing something to help Iowa’s medical problem.
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