Ordinance Would Require Prescription For Certain Cold Medicines

Wednesday, May 4th 2011, 10:57 pm
By: News 9

Jacqueline Sit, News 9

HOLDENVILLE, Oklahoma -- Holdenville residents now need a prescription for certain cold medicines, but if one man gets his way, residents will need a prescription no matter where we live.

One Oklahoman said he found out several states that have passed similar laws requiring prescriptions on common cold medicine have seen a tremendous drop in meth labs. Now he's a mission to do the same in our state.

June Melton is all too familiar with the growing meth problem in her town. As a mental health counselor, she's seen her share of people affected, including her loved one.

"Every family in this community has been affected by meth in one way or another, mine included," Melton said. "It messes with their ability to think clearly and irrationally, sometime they become psychotic."

It's not just a problem in Holdenville-- Oklahoma was the first state to put pseudoephedrine, the medicine used to make meth behind the counter, and now it's federal law.

Now David Starkey who's spearheading GelCapsStopMeth.com is pushing to make the dry tablet of the cold medicine a prescription by going city to city.

"This is not a casual drug. This is something that will destroy your life, and we've got to protect our children," Starkey said.

Similar to a bill that state lawmakers killed this session, it would exclude gel caps or liquid forms of pseudoephedrine. With the help of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotic in drafting the ordinance, Starkey succeeded. Holdenville City Council voted to pass the Gel Cap Ordinance, becoming the first city to require a prescription for the over the counter common cold medicine.

"We're having burglary issues, crimes issues that's directly related to drug use so whatever we can do to put a stop in the community or slow it down, that's what we're going to go after," said Holdenville Police Chief Keith Wardlow.

Officials and residents said the ordinance is just a small step in the right direction against a drug epidemic.

"We can stand up to these big forces and say no not in our town and if we do it over and over in the cities, pretty soon Oklahoma can be free of this problem," Melton said.

Wardlow said he's getting phone calls from police chief in other cities wanting to get on board with this ordinance. The law will go into effect in Holdenville in 30 days.

An Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics spokesperson said the agency is in support of this ordinance. A similar bill was passed in Oregon and nearly eliminated all the meth labs in that state.