The following Perspective is an expression of opinion by the Editorial Board at WIS, and presented by General Manager Donita Todd.
Pseudoephedrine is a common nasal decongestant used in several allergy medicines, but it's also a key ingredient used to make methamphetamine. Meth labs in our state seem to be daily news with SLED reporting nearly a 200% increase since 2007.
While law enforcement becomes more aware of how to find and dismantle these labs, it seems little is being done to prevent would-be meth cooks from making the drug in the first place. Most of the ingredients needed to make meth can be bought easily at any drug store. Only one of those ingredients- allergy medicine containing Pseudoephedrine- is kept behind the counter. But even that isn't keeping it out of the hands of meth cooks.
Only two states in the nation, Oregon and Mississippi, have taken the proactive approach of making drugs with Pseudoephedrine available by prescription only, and those states report a 70% reduction in the number of meth labs. Similar legislation is stalled here in South Carolina where the bill faces opposition from pharmaceutical lobbyists who argue that the general public shouldn't be punished for the crimes of a few.
It may be an inconvenience to get a prescription for Sudafed or Claritin from your doctor, but consider the damage meth does and the costs related to treating and policing that damage. Consider whether that inconvenience is really more important than preserving the safety of our children, neighborhoods, and tax dollars.
That's my perspective. Please share yours.
Write to Perspective at P.O. Box 367, Columbia, SC 29202, or send an email.
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