Friday, July 31, 2009

Public hearing set for prescription law in Jefferson County

HILLSBORO — Jefferson County council members want to hear what the public has
to say before moving ahead with a proposal to require prescriptions for some
cold and allergy medications that can be used to make meth.

A public hearing has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 18 at the County Council

County Executive Chuck Banks proposed the idea of requiring a prescription for
products containing pseudoephedrine, such as Claritin D or Sudafed, shortly
after Washington, Mo., City Council members approved the measure there earlier
this month.

Banks said he wants to ensure that everyone who can write a prescription,
including nurse practitioners, is covered by the bill and wants to learn
whether some forms of pseudoephedrine products should be excluded from the bill
if they cannot be converted into meth.

"We are not trying to keep anyone from getting medication, we're trying to
restrict meth cookers from getting access to the ingredient they need," Banks

Washington council members did not make exceptions for pseudoephedrine products
in its ordinance — the first of its kind in the nation. Franklin County Sgt.
Jason Grellner said exceptions serve as loopholes and all pseudoephedrine
products can be turned into meth.

Several organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the
Consumer Healthcare Products Association, have contacted Washington city
officials urging them to repeal the ordinance. Council members will vote Monday
on whether to do so.

Meanwhile, momentum seems to be building in surrounding cities such as Union,
St. Clair and Sullivan, where officials have begun considering similar

Banks said that should Jefferson County approve such an ordinance, he wants it
to be something surrounding counties can use.

"Even if we don't pass the ordinance, at least we will have brought the issue
back to the forefront," Banks said.

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