Oklahoma House Bill Aims To Strengthen Anti-Meth Laws
OKLAHOMA CITY - A new house bill working its way through the state legislature aims to crack down on the sale of pseudoephedrine, not only in Oklahoma, but in other states. It also aims to hit violators in their wallets.
If House Bill 2941 is signed into law industry insiders say Oklahoma would have the toughest anti-meth laws in the nation.
"Telling them they get no product and you are going to keep their money is going to cause a little scruff I'm afraid," joked pharmacist Dani Lynch.
Lynch believes a portion of House Bill 2941 could compromise the safety of pharmacists because the individuals trying to purchase illegal amount of pseudoephedrine will likely not respond well to the idea. She does agree though with other portion of the legislation aimed at tracking meth offenders.
"Right now, we communicate with all pharmacies in the state. So I know how much has been purchased in real time." said Lynch.
Right now, the meth offender registry does not cross state lines. House Bill 2941 would change that with the use of a data sharing program that enhances the tracking of pseudoephedrine sales in nearly two dozen states.
Representative David Derby authored the bill. He says so far this year, nearly 500 Oklahomans have been caught trying to purchase illegal amounts of pseudoephedrine in other states. Derby believes enhanced tracking could solve half the problem.
"It's to maintain access to law-abiding citizens while deterring people from purchasing [pseudoephedrine] to make methamphetamine," said Derby.
Under the legislation, a customer will also be required to pay for the pseudoephedrine before a pharmacist checks the meth offender registry. If a "stop sale" is suggested the pharmacy gets to keep the money. Derby says it will not affect the average customer.
"There is nothing out of pocket as long as you pass the background check," said Derby.
At Thrifty's Pharmacy, Lynch and her staff remain leery.
"I would not keep it [the money] because most of the people who are denied a sale of pseudoephedrine is not someone you want to deal with anyway," said Lynch.
Meanwhile, critics of the bill argue that pseudoephedrine should be made a prescription, but the majority of lawmakers say doing that would put a strain on doctors in the state.
The bill also recommends changing the amount of pseudoephedrine a customer can purchase. If it is made into a law, Oklahomans could buy 60 grams a year. To put that into perspective, a 10-tablet package of pseudoephedrine has 2.4 grams.