Mo. lawmakers cracking down on meth..again

Marion Co., Mo. - The state of Missouri may crack down even harder on buying some cold medicine.

A bill in a state Senate committee would require a doctor's visit and a prescription to buy pseudoephedrine-based pills. That medication is a main ingredient in the drug methamphetamine, but is a common medication to treat cold symptoms.

Marion County Sheriff Jimmy Shinn has been fighting the meth war in Missouri for years.

Not too many years ago, lawmakers put limits on the amount of pseudoephedrine consumers could buy and logged purchases. Then last year legislators authorized an electronic system to monitor purchases but did not fund it. Those efforts have crippled meth production, but it still thrives in many parts of the Show-Me-State.

Proponents of the bill that would make pseudoephedrine a prescription drug say would-be meth manufacturers would have difficulty visiting multiple doctors and securing multiple prescriptions to get enough of the drug.

But this possible law could impact your healthcare and your wallet. Critics of the bill say it may increase waiting times and costs for patients.

Do you think it puts an unnecessary burden on the healthcare field?

Dr. Richard Draper with Hannibal Regional Medical Group said, "Absolutely. I think it shifts the enforcement and vigilence to the wrong people. The people who will suffer from this will be patients who need medications, not people who are abusing the medications. In my opinion they'll get the compounds to make illegal drugs no matter what."

Dr. Draper says many people who are sick won't be able to take the time or the money to go to the doctor just to get cold medications.

Another possible problem - clogged up waiting rooms at local doctors' offices full of patients needing common cold medications.

Those issues are not lost on Sheriff Shinn.

Shinn said, "We're in favor of any law that helps take meth off the streets but we do believe it needs tweaking because normal people with a cold will need a doctor's appointment and cost for them for what used to be over the counter medications."

Dr. Richard Draper with the Hannibal Regional Medical Group says he believes the answer is with electronic tracking of the medication. He says if cold medicines are to be prescription drugs, they should be deemed controlled substances so they can be tracked by physicians all over the state.