New anti-meth law limits medications with pseudoephedrine

TULSA - Allergy and cold sufferers will now need to track their own use of medications containing pseudoephedrine.  

It's all part of a new law that limits those medications in hopes of fighting the meth epidemic.

Lawmakers say Oklahoma now has one of the toughest anti-methamphetamine laws in the country. Oklahoma's electronic tracking system is now synced across state lines.

Lawmakers say meth offenders who try to buy medications with pseudoephedrine over the legal limit will be blocked right away.

"There is no question that meth is a horrible scourge on our state. And we are a state that is affected greatly by it," said Sen. Rick Brinkley, R-Owasso, co-author of the bill.  "The object here is to allow law-abiding citizens to be able to get the allergy medicines that they need, and at the same time to be able to reduce the impact it has on the manufacturing of meth in this state."

Under the new law, Oklahomans are limited to 3.6 grams of the drug a day -- 7.2 grams in a month -- and a yearly limit. Lawmakers say this gives law enforcement more tools to fight the problem.

"And that's all we're trying to do. Is give them more information to enforce the law, without hindering law abiding citizens who use pseudoephed for legitimate purposes," said Rep. David Derby, R-Owasso, also a co-author of the bill.

Last legislative session several law enforcement officials and prosecutors backed a bill that would have required a prescription to buy the tablet form of pseudoephedrine.

The bill didn't pass.

"I certainly battle with allergies like most people in Oklahoma do, and I will gladly be inconvenienced that small amount if I thought it was saving someone's life," said Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton.  

Walton hopes this new law will slow down meth production, but doesn't think it goes far enough.

"Certainly a step in the right direction, and we may have shut that door partially. But I think we're still a long ways from closing that door completely," he said.

Under the new law, if you need more behind-the-counter medications than what's allowed by law, you can get a prescription from your doctor.

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