Another area city passes pseudoephedrine prescription rule

Thursday, November 11, 2010

PIEDMONT, Mo. -- The Piedmont City Council unanimously approved a bill prohibiting the sale of pseudoephedrine products without a prescription, in hopes of stifling the production of methamphetamine in the area.

The trial program will be revisited after one year to determine its effectiveness, according to the ordinance, written by city attorney Robert Ramshur and modeled after Sikeston, Mo.'s ban.

"We were becoming the hub, and we don't want to be known as the drug capital," said Piedmont councilman Tracey Bennett, who made the motion during a meeting Tuesday. "We want to be the hub for tourism in this town."

The implementation of the new law has been in discussion for the past two months, according to Bennett, who noted in his research that Oregon has seen a dramatic decline in meth labs after pseudoephedrine-based products were shifted from over-the-counter to prescription only.

"My main disagreement [with the ordinance] is the 10th Amendment, because I'm a big Constitution guy, and really don't like the government sticking its nose in a regular person's life," Bennett said. "But starting next week, if Cape Girardeau follows suit, we'll be the only town in the Southeast region that doesn't have an ordinance in place, which put a little more pressure on this."

All but one pharmacist supported the action, Bennett added. While it may cause patients to pay a doctor's fee to obtain a prescription, he said that many people of Wayne County are on Medicare and Medicaid, and doctors tend to be flexible in a small town.

A survey was conducted by Piedmont police chief Richard Sanders revealing that 145 boxes of pseudoephedrine pills were purchased at area pharmacies between Nov. 1-6, according to Bennett.

Poplar Bluff police chief Danny Whiteley said he spoke with one Piedmont pharmacist and was told the drug chain was getting inundated with smurfers, out-of-towners that work in rings to purchase pseudoephedrine pills.

"We'll be united down here in the Bootheel, with all the cities that have the major pharmacies helping to curb this problem," Whiteley said.

Poplar Bluff passed a similar ordinance earlier this year making it less easy to purchase pseudoephedrine.

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