Missouri already has a law on the books that requires purchases of over-the-counter cold medications to be monitored by scanning someone's driver's license. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports Republicans in the Missouri House of Representatives have introduced a bill reducing the amount of pseudoephedrine consumers in Missouri can purchase per month and per year.
Here's a look at why the General Assembly is considering the legislation this year, based upon what Missouri's meth problem did in 2011.
Sheriff Busted for Dealing Meth
The New York Daily News reported in April that Tommy Adams was the sheriff of Carter County, a rural part of south central Missouri. He was arrested after two years on the job for trafficking meth.
Adams allegedly gave an informant the drug and then used it himself. He ran for sheriff in 2008 and won by a single vote when his Democratic opponent committed suicide two weeks before the election. Missouri officials became suspicious when meth raids fell dramatically in Adams' county, even though there has been a huge meth problem there in the past.
St. Charles County Requires Prescription
St. Charles County took matters into their own hands. Just west of St. Louis, St. Charles County required anyone within its borders to get a prescription for drugs containing pseudoephedrine beginning Aug. 30. The Columbia Missourian reported in late October that sales of the drugs increased in St. Louis County when the law went into effect.
Towns such as Bridgeton, Chesterfield and Maryland Heights all saw spikes in psuedoephedrine sales in September. That spike was attributed to citizens going to the next county over to get cold medication.
Meth Labs Top 2,100
Although official statistics have yet to be released, the Springfield News-Leader reports that meth lab busts in Missouri are expected to top 2,100 for 2011. That figure would push Missouri back into the number one state for meth production. Last year, the Show-Me State was second to Kentucky in meth busts after years of being in the top spot.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol will be looking to increase restrictions on ingredients for meth. This move comes even though drug companies are claiming cold medications will be taken away from law abiding citizens who simply want to get relief from cold and flu season.
Jefferson County's Situation
USA Today reports Jefferson County, just south of St. Louis, leads Missouri's meth lab busts. Through Nov. 28, that particular area of Missouri had 234 meth lab seizures of the official 1,744 busts across the state. That turns out to be over 13 percent of the statewide meth problem in just one county.
If the General Assembly passes the new bill introduced in the current session, new limits will be in place for the sale of pseudeoephedrine. Monthly limits in place now restrict consumers to purchasing nine grams of the drug per month and 108 grams per year. The new limits, if passed, would lower the monthly limit to 7.5 grams and the annual limit would be 75 grams. A measure last year to require a prescription state-wide passed the House but failed in the Missouri Senate.
William Browning, a lifelong Missouri resident, writes about local and state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Born in St. Louis, Browning earned his bachelor's degree in English from the University of Missouri. He currently resides in Branson.
- Politics & Government