Indiana's Meth Problem

Date: September 23, 2015

As
a small business owner, you may not think that the meth issue affects you, but
proposed legislation may negatively affect you and your business.
Unfortunately, there is a significant meth issue in Indiana – especially with
the influx of Mexican meth into the state. In an attempt to combat the issue,
past legislative sessions have proposed legislation that attempted to create
restrictions on safe and effective medicine containing pseudoephedrine (PSE).
Known commercially as products such as Sudafed-D or Zyrtec-D, these popular
cold and allergy medicines are misused by a small number of criminals to create
meth.

The
proposed legislation has ranged from making the drug available by
prescription-only – requiring every citizen to see a physician to access their
decongestant – to a meth offender block list – which would only require those
who have previously been convicted of a meth crime obtain a prescription. The
prescription-only policy has been adopted in Oregon and Mississippi with mixed
results. According to the independent National Alliance for Model State Drug
Laws, “the relationship between the PSE prescription laws and the decline in
meth lab incidents is spurious.”  On the other hand, states such as
Oklahoma and Alabama have seen reductions in meth labs by almost 80 percent
with their block lists – all without burdening law-abiding citizens.

According
to recent research, a prescription requirement for PSE would cost Indiana
millions of dollars while also being strongly opposed by a large majority of
Hoosiers. A study released by Dr. Michael Hicks of Ball State University in
March 2015 found that making PSE prescription-only would increase out of pocket
expenses for hard-working Hoosiers up to $61.2 million annually, and,
particularly important to business owners, requiring a doctor’s visit to obtain
PSE would cost employers up to $27.3 million per year in lost productivity, on
average.

Another
study, from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) released in
July 2015, found that in Indiana, 98 percent of respondents use non-Rx medicine
to treat their cold, cough and flu symptoms. Furthermore, 93 percent of those
surveyed stated that they would want to be able to purchase all of the
medicines currently available to them at a pharmacy. AAFA’s study both
underscores the widespread use of PSE products in Indiana and most consumers’
desire to have complete access to all cold, cough and flu products.

Indiana
must continue to make efforts to restrict meth use and production in the state.
These two surveys demonstrate that while many proposals have been put forward,
a prescription requirement for PSE could be both costly and unpopular for the
state of Indiana.  Something to think about.

Related Content: NFIB in My State | State | Indiana

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