TULSA - A growing number of Oklahoma towns are passing city ordinances in the hope of curbing the meth epidemic.
A state law that would have required a prescription for the tablet form of medications that contain pseudoephedrine died during the last legislative session. In response, four Oklahoma towns have passed ordinances that accomplish the same goal on a local level.
Just this week McAlester and Chouteau joined Holdenville and Wagoner in passing ordinances. More towns are expected to follow in the coming weeks and months.
"There is a movement that has begun. These city councils are cutting through the junk. People are fed up with seeing these meth labs fires", says Claremore Citizen David Starkey.
He has spent months talking to city councilors across the state. Starkey says the solution to one pot meth labs is to require prescriptions for only the tablet form of pseudoephedrine.
He says, "If everybody would take a gelcap or a liquid there would be no meth fires. No children would burn up. It would totally be solved. Because you can't make meth out of a gelcap."
Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton says individually, he doesn't believe the ordinances will be effective when it comes to keeping pseudoephedrine out of the hands of meth cooks.
He says, "I think what we will see is when you shut down a market down, you increase another market."
Sheriff Walton says the real power behind the ordinances is the message they send to state lawmakers. He hopes it will push them will pass a statewide law during the next legislative session.
Sheriff Walton tells 2NEWS, "Are we saying this law take meth off the streets? Not at all. There will be other ways to obtain it. But there won't be ways to manufacture it and put everybody in harm's way - and have the huge burden that law enforcement has to deal with."
Sheriff Walton says one pot labs have stretched his department's resources thin. "It's a staffing nightmare when you are trying to keep three deputies out to cover 800 square miles and you receive a call like this. Safety manning levels mandate that you have three people on site. That maybe our entire fleet of officers for the day."
Starkey tells 2NEWS that getting a state law on the books is the main goal of his effort, "All of this is really showing the state lawmakers that people want this. They want to get rid of the meth labs. And we want to push people at the state level to pass this."
More than 800 meth labs were found in Oklahoma last year.
A meth summit that will focus on ways to combat the meth will take place at the Tulsa Convention Center Friday from 9 am to noon. It is open to the public.
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