Manchin to WV Legislature: Act Now to Curb Statewide Meth Production
In a letter sent individually to State legislators, Senator Manchin calls for legislation adopting the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy’s recommendations to curb the tide of methamphetamine production
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) recently sent individual letters to members of the West Virginia Legislature encouraging the body to pass legislation implementing the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy’s recommendations to curb the tide of methamphetamine production in the state. The Board’s recommendations include rescheduling pseudoephedrine products as a controlled substance that requires a prescription to obtain, lowering the monthly pseudoephedrine sales limit to 3.6g and lowering the annual pseudoephedrine sales limit to 24g.
“Though we have seen progress in the effort to reduce the illicit sale of pseudoephedrine and meth production in West Virginia, more must be done,” Senator Manchin said. “The State Legislature needs to act or we will continue to see domestic meth production devastate our state. West Virginia is facing a meth production crisis, and I hope we can seize this opportunity to work together in a constructive and collaborative way.”
Please read the full text of Senator Manchin’s letter below.
I strongly encourage the West Virginia Legislature to pass legislation to stem the tide of methamphetamine (meth) production in West Virginia. Specifically, I urge you to implement the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy’s recommendations to reschedule pseudoephedrine as a controlled substance subject to prescription requirements and reduce the monthly and annual pseudoephedrine sales limits. Please know that I will do everything in my power to encourage the passage of this important measure.
In 2013, meth lab seizures in West Virginia spiked to 533, which is an 86 percent increase from 2012. While we know that the vast majority of meth is imported from Mexico, we also know that single-ingredient pseudoephedrine products are the product of choice for domestic meth production.
Over the past year, I reached out to every pharmacy chain in our state to request their cooperation in preventing further abuse in our state. As a result of those conversations, we have seen several pharmacies in West Virginia, including Fruth, CVS, Walgreens, Kmart and Rite Aid, stop selling all over-the-counter medications that contain pseudoephedrine as the single active ingredient. Furthermore, these pharmacies are voluntarily implementing the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy’s recommendations by lowering the monthly (3.6g) and annual (24g) pseudoephedrine sales limits to their customers.
At the same time, we have seen a dramatic 30 percent drop in sales of cold medications containing pseudoephedrine and a 41 percent drop in the number of meth labs seized. Last year, the police seized 497 labs between January 1st and November 30th. This year, that number is down to 290. These changes show that our efforts are working to reduce this awful epidemic.
While I strongly believe these are steps in the right direction and applaud those pharmacies for being responsible corporate neighbors, we cannot rely on corporate responsibility alone. Kroger, which has 40 stores in the state, has refused to remove medications that contain single-source pseudoephedrine, and it only lowered its annual sales limits to 43g. In addition, Wal-Mart, which has nearly 40 stores in our state, has so far declined to adopt any of the recommendations of the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy. Kroger has maintained that pseudoephedrine is a legal drug that should be available to the public. However, the fact that single-ingredient pseudoephedrine is legal to sell has little to do with the simple truth that it is being used overwhelmingly by meth abusers and that it is dangerous to the public. It is unfortunate and disappointing that Kroger and Wal-Mart have decided to continue to sell single-ingredient pseudoephedrine, further fueling the domestic production of meth in West Virginia.
Last year, the West Virginia State Legislature came very close to adopting a relatively simple law that would have required individuals to have a prescription to purchase medications containing pseudoephedrine. This step, recommended by the Board of Pharmacy, would not only keep pseudoephedrine out of the hands of those who will use it to make meth, it also addresses the concerns of medical professionals who believe that many Americans should only take these products under the supervision of a doctor. I urge you to try again. The West Virginia Board of Pharmacy’s recommendations are commonsense measures that will improve the health and lives of the citizens in our state.
Though we have seen progress in the effort to reduce the illicit sale of pseudoephedrine and meth production in West Virginia, more must be done. The State Legislature needs to act or we will continue to see domestic meth production devastate our state. I believe that the Legislature should pass legislation adopting all of the Board of Pharmacy’s recommendations. This legislation would:
• Reschedule pseudoephedrine products as a controlled substance, thus requiring a 1prescription to obtain;
• Lower the monthly pseudoephedrine sales limit to 3.6g; and
• Lower the annual pseudoephedrine sales limit to 24g.
In the 2000s, the state legislatures in Oregon and Mississippi adopted legislation that reclassified pseudoephedrine products as a controlled substance. The result was overwhelmingly positive, as both states have seen the number of meth lab seizures plummet. West Virginia is facing a meth production crisis, and I hope we can seize this opportunity to work together in a constructive and collaborative way. Again, please know that I will do everything I can do to encourage the West Virginia Legislature to pass legislation that will reduce meth production in our great state. Too many West Virginians have struggled with addiction, too many families have been torn apart, and too many lives have been lost to these substances. It is past time that we take strong, direct action to stop this cycle of abuse.
With warmest regards,
Joe Manchin III
United States Senator
Next Article Previous Article