Lawmakers push for pharmacist discussion before buying Sudafed

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 3, 2016) - In the fight against the raging drug epidemic in Indiana, Hoosiers are one step closer to having tougher restrictions on accessing cold medicine like Sudafed.

Indiana has been crowned the meth capital of the country, according to a Purdue University study.

“A personal priority was to take some very extensive steps to address our meth and heroin issues,” said Indiana Speaker of the House, Representative Brian Bosma (R – Indianapolis).

State lawmakers are now looking to make it harder for the average Hoosier to get ahold of pseudoephedrine; a key ingredient in cold medicine like Sudafed and a key ingredient in making meth.

“We’ve worked with doctors, pharmacists, and other legislators, other groups, and have come up with a way to really responsibly sell pseudoephedrine so the good guy can get it when they need it and the bad guy, they’re just going to have a hard time,” said State Representative Ben Smaltz (R – Auburn), who authored House Bill 1390.

Smaltz’ bill passed through the House of Representatives and a similar measure, Senate Bill 80, passed through the Senate, with bipartisan support. The bills call for consumers to have a conversation with a pharmacist in order to buy pseudoephedrine drugs like Sudafed.

The popular cold medicine would remain over the counter, but this small step, experts say, will make a dramatic impression on meth production.

“This will get the Sudafed to those patients who have the clinical needs as well as with the pharmacists expertise they can easily call out patients who are going to be manufacturing methamphetamine,” said Randy Hitchens, the Executive Vice President of the Indiana Pharmacists Alliance.

The results are clear; Arkansas implemented a similar measure and saw a decrease in meth production of almost 95 percent in a matter of months.

“Just a few simple questions with a patient and that keeps it basically out of the hands of the meth manufacturers,” Hitchens said.

With two versions of a similar bill, a conference committee will need to approve a final version, which will require votes from the full house and senate chambers and then a signature from the Governor, before these changes would go into effect.

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