Another Oklahoma Town Bans Pseudoephedrine To Curb Meth Problem

Tuesday, June 14th 2011, 5:05 pm

By: News On 6

Tara Vreeland, News On 6

CHOTEAU, Oklahoma -- Another Oklahoma community is fighting back against meth.

Chouteau has become the latest town to pass an ordinance stopping the sale of pseudoephedrine in a tablet form unless you have a prescription. Holdenville and Wagoner have already passed a pseudoephedrine ordinance.

The goal is to keep ingredients used to make meth out of the hands of meth cooks.

The ordinance only restricts dry tablets, not gel caps. The dry tablets will now require a prescription.

David Starkey, who is behind the ordinance, said there is an oxygen molecule that meth cookers can't extract out of the gel caps and then can't make meth.

"This is such an easy fix to Oklahoma's meth lab problem," Starkey said. "It's like does it really matter what form whether it's dry or gel cap," Starkey said.

"The pharmacies are begging for this," he added. "I have not gone to any pharmacy yet that's not wanted this."

But do municipalities, towns, or cities have the power to put such an ordinance in place? State Representative Mike Ritze posed the question to Attorney General Scott Pruitt.

6/9/2011 Related Story: Oklahoma Lawmaker Questions City Restrictions On Pseudoephedrine

"As legislators, we can encourage manufacturers to make the product inert in the tablet form if it's crushed," Ritze said.

Ritze says if it is legal, cities should keep pushing for the ordinance. If it isn't, then he plans to propose legislation this summer so they can.

Ritze says with 77 counties and a handful of towns in each, taking the pseudoephedrine ordinance to the state level would get the job done much more quickly.

"No one denies that we don't have a problem. A huge problem," Ritze said. "But we are beating around the bush. What I am trying to do as a forensic scientist and physician, I want to try to help facilitate and make it as easy as we can to get rid of this problem."

A bill to make pseudoephedrine prescription only was presented this year but was killed before getting to a vote in the House.


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