Call to move pseudoephedrine behind counter

Published 02/24 2014 01:35PM

Updated 03/03 2014 10:10AM

CENTRAL ILLINOIS -- Methamphetamine continues to a major problem, especially in Central Illinois. So, there's a new push to help cut down on product. But, as WCIA-3's Ashley Michels explains, it could come at a price.

"It's a serious problem. We're hearing more and more of it."

He's talking about meth. It's one of the most widespread and dangerous drugs on the streets. What's worse, just about anyone can make it right at home.

"They don't make big batches now. They make smaller batches, but more often."

It just takes the right mix of ingredients, including a common over-the-counter medication.

"It's the one you get at the drug store. Pseudoephedrine pills that you get for a cold."

Pharmacists already keep medicines like Sudafed and Mucinex behind the counter and you have to show ID. But, Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettlekamp says that hasn't put a stop to meth.

"They'll buy one box at one location and then go to another location. It's called pill shopping."

So, to try to cut down on abuse, one lawmaker wants to make the pills prescription only. It's an idea cold sufferers aren't happy about.

"If I have a headache during the middle of the night and I get up, I don't want to go and try and find a doctor to get a prescription. I just want to go and get it."

Josephine Butler says it's not going to punish the right people.

"When I go in the store, you can kind of look at me and tell I'm not going to make any meth. I'm in pain. I need some medicine."

Not to mention the added costs.

"It can take me at least a couple weeks to get into the doctor and then it's going to cost me my copay when I could just now go to the grocery store and pick it up off the shelf. It's outrageous."

Kettlekamp says we do need a better way to fight meth, but even he's not sure the doctor is the right cure.

"A true drug addict, a true meth addict, is going to do anything they can to get those pills. They know exactly what to say to the doctors."

Plus, he says, at least right now, they can track the pseudoephedrine purchases at the registers. That's how police figure out who's cooking the drug. But, medical records are off-limits to police.

"We're not going to be able to get those records; not if it's a script that's given."

Two states, Oregon and Mississippi, already have a similar law in place. After it went into effect in Oregon, the number of meth lab busts dropped from nearly 500 to just 12.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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