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Comptroller Report on TN Meth Production Questions Effectiveness of Pseudoephedrine Tracking, Prescriptions

Press release from Office of the Comptroller; January 10, 2013:

The illicit production of methamphetamine remains a serious public health, safety and fiscal issue in Tennessee, yet two of the most popular methods aimed at curbing meth production have shown inconclusive results. These are among the key findings of an updated study of meth production released today by the Comptroller’s Offices of Research and Education Accountability (OREA).

The study updates a report issued by OREA last year. (Click here for 2013 Comptroller Report.)

Meth is a highly addictive recreational drug that can be illegally produced from household ingredients and certain types of cold and allergy medicines – primarily pseudoephedrine. Federal and state laws limit the amount of these medications, referred to as “precursors,” that individuals can purchase.

One method for limiting meth production is electronic tracking of purchases of cold medicines commonly used to produce meth. Tennessee and 28 other states have adopted the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx), a real-time electronic tracking system. However, the study shows that the number of meth lab incidents reported by law enforcement has not decreased substantially since Tennessee began using NPLEx in 2012.

In two states, Mississippi and Oregon, individuals must have a prescription to purchase precursors. The number of reported meth lab incidents declined in these two states following passage of a prescription-only law, but some other nearby states without such laws have followed similar trends.

OREA is an agency within the Comptroller’s Office that is charged with providing accurate and objective policy research and analysis for the Tennessee General Assembly and the public.

To view the report online, go to: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/OREA/

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Beavers Praises TN AG Opinion on Local Pseudoephedrine Purchase Restrictions

Statement from State Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet; December 10, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Senator Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, released the following statement today in response to the opinion issued by Attorney General Robert Cooper on municipal-wide prescription requirements for cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine. The attorney general determined that local efforts to restrict access to popular cold and allergy medicine containing pseudoephedrine violate existing state law.

“Attorney General Cooper’s opinion is an important development in the battle against methamphetamine production in Tennessee,” said Senator Beavers. “As the author of legislation that implemented Tennessee’s real-time pseudoephedrine-tracking technology, I have long maintained that local prescription-only measures run counter to the spirit of that law. Attorney General Cooper’s opinion demonstrates that these local ordinances do indeed run afoul of the law. Going forward, there is no question that there remains much work to be done to address the illegal manufacture of methamphetamine. I look forward to working with state legislators from both parties to implement balanced solutions that target criminals, not law-abiding Tennesseans.”