January 15, 2010

Wyden Legislation Would Take Oregon Anti-Meth Legislation Nationwide, Require Doctor's Prescription for Pseudoephedrine

State and Local Law Enforcement, Pharmacists Support Change as Way to Stop Smurfers and Eliminate Meth Labs in the U.S.

Portland, OR - Joined by police, prosecutors and pharmacists, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden today announced legislation that would take Oregon's successful anti-methamphetamine law nationwide by requiring a doctor's prescription for pseudoephedrine products.

"Meth manufacturing is a scourge that has been all but eliminated in Oregon thanks to a groundbreaking law that has shut down meth labs and put smurfers out of business," Wyden said. "Now is the time to take Oregon's success in the war against meth to the rest of the nation and eliminate this plague once and for all."

Wyden announced the legislation at a news conference that included Oregon Attorney General John Kroger, Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schrunk, Lincoln County District Attorney Rob Bovett, Oregon Sheriff's Association President Rick Eiesland of Wasco County, Portland Police Chief Rosie Sizer, pharmacist Blake Rice and sheriffs and police chiefs from throughout Oregon.

"Oregon has proven that it is possible to make a difference in the methamphetamine crisis," Attorney General Kroger said. "Investigating and cleaning up meth labs placed a major burden on law enforcement. With the problem of local meth labs largely eliminated, Oregon's sheriffs and police can focus their efforts on other crimes."

"Rather than arresting more smurfers or finding more meth labs, law enforcement wants to eliminate them altogether," District Attorney Bovett said. "That is exactly what Senator Wyden's bill will do. There has been a resurgence of meth labs throughout the nation, with an exception - Oregon. That's why what we did here needs to be done everywhere in the United States."

"Every sheriff in the United States wishes they had the same the same thing I have in Wasco County - a law that has all but eliminated meth labs in my county and across Oregon," Sheriff Eiesland said. "This legislation will stop smurfers and meth labs in every county in every state."

"The most convincing argument in favor of a nationwide policy on pseudoephedrine is that children would be kept away from the toxic environment of meth labs," Blake Rice said. "Saving the life or protecting the health of just one child far outweighs any potential inconvenience to consumers of having to get prescriptions for allergy medicine."

Wyden's proposal would require a prescription to purchase pseudoephedrine products, which would be listed on Schedule IV of the Controlled Substances Act. The bill states that patients will still be able to obtain a sample of a pseudoephedrine product at a doctor's office or health clinic without filling a prescription, which is consistent with current law and practices.

Since July 2006 when Oregon became the first state to require a prescription to obtain all pseudoephedrine products, the number of clandestine meth labs discovered in Oregon has dropped by 96 percent.