Upstate lawmaker wants prescriptions for some cold medicines - FOX Carolina 21

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Upstate lawmaker wants prescriptions for some cold medicines

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This cold medicine contains pseudoephedrine, one of the main ingredients of methamphetamine. (File/FOX Carolina) This cold medicine contains pseudoephedrine, one of the main ingredients of methamphetamine. (File/FOX Carolina)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Some of the symptoms of a cold or an allergy flare-up can be a runny nose, a cough or watery eyes.

In order to treat those symptoms, some customers use medicine that contain pseudoephedrine.

To get those specific cold medicines, customers have to talk to a pharmacist who has a supply behind the counter. However, an Upstate lawmaker said many customers are buying the cold medicine to cook methamphetamine.

"Meth, you take one time and you could be addicted, and it kills you," Sen. Mike Fair said.

Fair represents the District Six area in Greenville and supports pseudoephedrine laws that are already in place, but said more needs to be done.

"We limited the number of boxes a person could buy and records are being kept, but according to leadership and law enforcement in South Carolina, it isn't working," Fair said.

The way the process works now is a customer must show a valid I.D. when buying pseudoephedrine. Then, a pharmacist puts the customer's information into a system called NPLEX that tracks the number of times a customer buys medicine with pseudoephedrine.

If the system shows a green check, the sale can continue, but if it shows a red check, a pharmacist isn't allowed to sell the product to that customer.

Fair said he's working on a new bill that will call for prescriptions for medicine with pseudoephedrine.

"And we think that the results in South Carolina would be similar to that of a couple of other states," Fair said.

Fair said the methamphetamine problem is growing and because addicts continue to illegally get pseudoephedrine, he said the state should come up with another deterrent. He said meth labs cost the state about $1 million a year in cleanup fees.

"The expense for lives and families is the greatest expense," Fair said.

Fair said other states who adopted a prescription law for pseudoephedrine saw a decrease in meth-related crimes. Fair said he also wants to talk to members of the medical association about the bill to get their feedback on the proposal.

He plans to introduce the bill in January, at the start of the next session. Similar legislation is in the works in North Carolina as well.

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