Tennessee's top law enforcement officers tried desperately to move a bill through the legislature to make the decongestant pseudoephedrine a prescription-only medication.
Pseudoephedrine is the main ingredient in making methamphetamine. Law enforcement officials believe if pseudoephedrine is available only by prescription, most of the meth cooking labs would dwindle.
Right now, Tennessee is second in meth production. Jeff Long, president of the Tennessee Sheriffs Association, said so far this year more than 500 meth labs have been busted. The cost in terms of dollars and cents is mounting.
"Last year's cost for meth labs in Tennessee was more than $1 billion. That's a major scourge on our system and on the state of Tennessee," said Long.
The fate of the pseudoephedrine bill rested in the hands of the legislators on the criminal justice subcommittee. The bill's sponsor, Rep. David Hawk, R-Greenville, made the case that making pseudoephedrine available by prescription only would not inconvenience Tennesseans.
"You have over 100 other types of cold capsules, sinus capsules that also can be used," said Hawk.
The subcommittee chair produced a number of letters in opposition to the proposed bill. The committee voted to table the measure for another year.
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