Iowa’s “drug czar” is in Washington, D.C. for three days of meetings with Iowa’s congressional delegation and others to talk about Iowa’s new anti-meth-making law. The nearly month-old law that keeps common cold and allergy remedies that contain an ingredient used to make meth behind the counter has already had a dramatic impact. A preliminary report shows meth lab busts were down 76 percent in May. Marvin Van Haaften, director of the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy, fears a weaker bill making its way through Congress could be a setback.
Van Haaften will meet with all five Iowa congressmen and sit down with the staffs for both Iowa Senators. Van Haaften says he intends to do all the lobbying he can to try to ensure the federal law doesn’t take away from what we worked for over two years to accomplish in Iowa.
“I don’t want to be preempted by a (federal) law that could be weaker,” Van Haaften says. Major national chains like Target have already copied Iowa’s law and moved medications that contain pseudoephedrine — the main ingredient for meth-makers — behind the counter, forcing people who want to buy products like Sudafed or Nyquil to ask a clerk or pharmacist for the item. Van Haaften says it’s a good move, because most meth-makers weren’t buying the product.
Convicted felons testified that they stole nearly 90 percent of the pseudoephedrine they got from stores. Van Haaften flew out of Des Moines at six o’clock this morning, bound for D.C. He’ll return on Friday.