Focus: Meth

Two years ago, Indiana lawmakers were urged to take steps against the state’s meth epidemic.

Lawmakers had other priorities.

Last year, Indiana lawmakers were again urged to find a way to help communities stem the tide against meth use.

Again, lawmakers had other priorities.

Perhaps the third time will be the charm. We hope so.

A proposal by two state senators aims to make it more difficult to purchase pseudoephedrine for illegal purposes. Critically, the plan avoids the previous plan of making it available by prescription only.

Although the prescription-only method had been found effective in other states, it had been rejected in Indiana as posing too much of a hardship on Hoosiers who simply wanted to ease their cold symptoms.

The new plan, known as the “pharmacist legitimization bill,” still puts pharmacists in the driver’s seat. It would require purchasers of pseudoephedrine, an ingredient used to make meth, to speak to a pharmacist before purchasing the over-the-counter medication to treat colds and allergies. The pharmacist would glean enough information from the potential customer to determine that the person actually needs it.

The new plan is getting a little traction in the Statehouse.

Rep. Steve Davisson, a Republican from Salem and a pharmacist since 1981, consulted with the authors of the new bill. Davisson, who represents a part of Lawrence County, told the newspaper the bill will cut down on meth labs and will not place a burden on doctors or consumers by making the drug available by prescription only.

“I think this bill would be the best route,” said Davisson. “It would satisfy the different groups of people without causing chaos. Arkansas did this in 2011, and meth labs decreased by 95 percent, so it has worked.”

We’re not looking for the silver bullet that will erase all illegal drug use. No such silver bullet exists. Opponents to the bill note that meth is increasingly coming into the country from Mexico, and that tighter Indiana laws simply will drive meth-makers to other states. Those are fair points to raise.

But years of sore experience have taught us that Hoosier communities simply do not have the proper tools to deal with the meth epidemic.

We trust this new measure will get the attention and support it deserves in the Statehouse.