Bill would curb meth epidemic

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 29, 2010

NATCHEZ — Metro Narcotics Commander David Lindsey says Adams County is a prime location for methamphetamine shoppers, but he hopes state legislators will put an end to the trade.

“Meth is a fairly large problem (in Adams County) not necessarily for making the meth, but for buying the ingredients,” Lindsey said. “They are easily accessible here, and there are several places you can purchase these items.”

After finding that the number of meth arrests exceeded the number of cocaine arrests during the past calendar year, the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics along with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety and are pushing to add pseudoephedrine to the state’s schedule III drug list.

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Since pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient used in making meth, is found in cold medications such as Sudafed, the law would require a person have a doctor’s prescription in order to obtain all medicines containing the ingredient.

This is a stipulation that has recently gained the approval of Gov. Haley Barbour.

Barbour and two state congressional committees agreed this week that purchasing cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine should be permissible with a doctor’s prescription.

If passed, the legislation would make Mississippi the second state in the country to enforce the requirement. Oregon passed the law in 2006.

Lindsey said he is in full support of seeing pseudoephedrine added to the state’s list of schedule drugs.

“Now, when you have two or more of the ingredients to make meth (the charge) is called ‘precursors to make methamphetamine,’” Lindsey said. “If you have two or more ingredients you are guilty of the precursor violation.

“Currently, the sentencing for precursors is a maximum of 50 years.”

In a report released by the Mississippi Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Narcotics, Adams County was one of 14 counties in the state that went without a meth seizure in 2009.

Howerver, cases of methamphetamine and precursors are not uncommon to the county.

Lindsey said he is aware people from outside the county come to buy their ingredients from multiple stores in Natchez.

“They go from one store to the next buying each individual item, and that’s how they are getting away with it,” Lindsey said.

Lindsey said one of the best ways to knock out the purchase of ingredients for meth is to educate people working behind the counters at stores and teach them to look out for suspicious purchases.

“What we’d like to do is put a list out of some of the main ingredients that are used (in making meth) and maybe have a hotline where (store workers) can call and say a person is buying these items.”