The U.S Senate today (Friday) voted to enforce nationwide restrictions on the sale of common cold medications that contain pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient in meth. Dale Woolery, a spokesman for the Governor’s Office on Drug Control Policy, says the proposal is written so it does not undo Iowa’s law that has proven effective in limiting the number of meth labs discovered in the state. “The final version isn’t done but it’s our understanding that the version of the ‘Combat Meth Act’ that was accepted into this Senate Appropriations bill today would do no harm to Iowa’s law,” Woolery says. “That’s good news.” The Senate-approved plan would move cold medicines like Sudafed and NyQuil behind the pharmacy counter and limit how much one person can buy. The House must also endorse the proposal, which is included in a spending bill. Woolery says it will provide “strong” restrictions in states, like Illinois, which have no state law limiting sales of products used to make meth. That means some Iowans can go across the border and buy enough Sudafed to make meth, then come back to Iowa to cook the illegal drug. “Right now a lot of the labs we are seeing…are on the border areas, most notably on the eastern side of the state,” Woolery says. There’s been a 75 percent reduction in the number of meth labs discovered in Iowa since the law took effect in May. That means law enforcement can start to concentrate more on catching those who’re bringing meth made in Mexico into the state, according to Woolery, who says a federal law could have a similar benefit. “The first and primary benefit is to, I think, enhance public safety so that we don’t have innocent people becoming victims of meth labs,” Woolery says. “But secondarily, and the bigger picture, is that you free up a lot of law enforcement resources and we’re seeing that here in Iowa now where a lot more cops have a lot more time to devote to investigating the traffiking of methamphetamine coming from the southwest U.S. or Mexico.” Earlier this year, officials estimated that 80 percent of the meth in Iowa is shipped in from out-of-state and only 20 percent came from meth labs in Iowa.
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