Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack today called for much tighter control over the sale of cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine — one of the key ingredients in making methamphetamine. The governor wants the cold and allergy medications now sold over the counter to only be given out by a pharmacist. You would have to show an ID and sign a log to purchase the drugs. Vilsack says his proposal is based on an Oklahoma law that aims to reduce meth labs by 50-percent in the Sooner state. He says most of us would be glad to put up with the inconvenience if we knew it would save the life of one child. He says this will save the lives of many. He says it would also save money in treating and incarcerating those who use meth. An attempt to pass such restrictions failed last year in the Iowa Legislature. He says, “we now have proof that it works, something we didn’t have last year.” The governor says the state has to take action. He says, “No is not an acceptable response. So long as there is a single child subject to addiction, so long as there is a single child who may be harmed by a parent that’s addicted, we we have work to do.” Vilsack admits the proposal will be unpopular with retailers.He says it’s incumbent on those who oppose the proposal to come up with a better plan.The president of the Iowa Grocery Industry Association, Jerry Fleagle (flay-gull), says requiring pseudoephedrine to be sold by pharmacists is not the answer. He says it will increase the cost and limit the accessability. Fleagle says you’ll go from thousands of outlets that sell the products to three or four hundred. He says that will eliminate competition and the cost of the product will go up. Fleagle says a better solution is the “Meth Watch” program recently introduced that trains clerks to report suspicious purchases of meth-making materials. He says the industry will lobby against efforts to limit the sale of the drugs to pharmacists. He says we’re just four months into a change in the law that took effect July 1st limiting the amount of the drugs you can purchase. He says the number of labs has slowed and they’re hoping the new law and meth watch will help even more. The governor made his comments today at a meth forum in Newton.
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