Criminal Justice

Issue Of Prescriptions For Cold Medications May Return To Statehouse

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September 30, 2014 — Eric Berman, Network Indiana — Legislators are likely to renew a debate in January over whether to require a prescription for cold medicines like Sudafed.

Indiana already sets daily, monthly and yearly limits on how much medicine you can buy containing pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in methamphetamine. But for the last four years, police departments have lined up on opposite sides of a legislative debate over whether to go further and require prescriptions. Some argue it‘s the only way to choke off the pseudoephedrine supply. They contend the limits aren‘t enough to combat “smurfing,” the practice of hopscotching from pharmacy to pharmacy to buy up enough medication to cook meth.

Pharmacies have replaced paper logs of purchases with an electronic database, which Indianapolis public safety director Troy Riggs says should put a stop to smurfing without requiring law-abiding citizens to see a doctor to treat a cold. He says the city will monitor the success of the NPLEX system to see how well it delivers on that expectation.

Riggs says his wish list for legislators will focus not on meth, but violent crime. He‘s seeking mandatory minimum sentences for violent criminals who use a weapon.


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