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Iowa limits sale of cold medicine to try to combat meth 'epidemic'
By Reuters | March 23, 2005

DES MOINES -- Iowa yesterday enacted the strongest state law yet restricting the sale of cold medicines that contain pseudoephedrine, an ingredient used illicitly to produce the mind-altering methamphetamine drug.

Under the new law signed by Governor Thomas J. Vilsack, Iowans will be required to show identification and sign their names when buying common cold medicines that contain pseudoephedrine. Consumers cannot buy more than 7.5 grams of pseudoephedrine in a 30-day period without a prescription.

The medicines -- which may include such well-known brand names as Sudafed, PediaCare, Sinutab, Dimetapp, and Triminic -- will be banned from store shelves, where they could be stolen, and placed in locked cases or behind pharmacy counters.

Legislators, who passed the law unanimously last week, said the bill would make it inconvenient for consumers, but the measure would curtail methamphetamine production in the state.

''We have an epidemic here in Iowa. It's called methamphetamine," Representative Clel Baudler, a Republican and retired state trooper, said in a recent legislative forum. ''It's a highly addictive, illegal drug that has basically defied all our efforts to control its spread."

Methamphetamine use has been soaring in recent years, largely because it is so easy and cheap to make, while providing a long-lasting high. The rampant growth of the drug use has driven increased crime and the destruction of families and communities, according to law enforcement.

Iowa has been one of the hardest-hit states. Last year, law enforcement counted 1,472 meth laboratory incidents, up from 1,182 in 2003 and just two about a decade ago, in 1994.

Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kentucky also require products containing pseudoephedrine to be sold through a pharmacy, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Oklahoma passed a law similar to Iowa's last year, but Iowa's 30-day limit on the amount that can be bought is lower.

Many other states are considering laws affecting the sale of cold medicines. At the federal level, Republican and Democrat senators proposed similar legislation earlier this year.

But Iowa's new law is considered the toughest. It not only takes products off store shelves and requires consumers to be identified, but it also limits the amount individuals can buy of all forms of the medicines -- tablet, liquid, and gel caps.

Even as supporters applauded the new law in Iowa, they said they feared the fight against meth could slide back because of proposed cuts in federal funding.

The Bush administration is proposing to cut federal funding by more than 50 percent for law enforcement, prosecution, and environmental cleanup related to methamphetamine. The president's budget also would wipe out the Safe and Drug-Free Schools program.

''We thought this [law] would allow us to take one big step forward," said Dale Woolery, head of the Iowa governor's drug control office. ''But if we are going to see precious resources pulled out from underneath us . . . you could argue we are taking one step forward, two steps back."

Material from the Associated Press was included in this report.
 

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They're trying to get this done in New Canaan, CT as well. It's a voluntary thing, but it seems that everyone agrees in that town.
 

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It's amazing that there are so many different OTC Medicines that people use to get similar effects of illegal drugs. One time I saw a 19 year old male that was walking the streets naked as he was high off a BOTTLE of cough syrup (he drank the whole bottle). These kids will take anything to get F'd up.
 

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Yeah, when I was in high school, if for some reason kids couldn't get alcohol - cough syrup was a good substitute in their minds.
 

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Go to Harvard Square in Cambridge on almost any given day and the bums are drinking Yello Listerine to get drunk.

There was also a story on the news the other night I saw about kids using cold medicines to get high and stuff like that. I forget exactly where I saw it though.

Scott :rock:
 
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