usa-map usa-map

Learn more about the dangers of smurfing here

Learn more

A new law is crimping local meth production

2.21.18, Brian Howey, Kokomo Perspective

The dreary reality for the transformation of the Crossroads of America to “Indiana: The Methamphetamine State!” reached its low point in February 2014 when a Washington Post headline stated: “Congrats Missouri, you’re no longer the nation’s meth-bust capital.” That dubious distinction belonged to Indiana where 1,808 clandestine meth labs had been busted. For every one discovered, another three or four existed in the shadows. Even more appalling were the 458 Hoosier kids found living in these toxic cesspools and hovels.

It begged questions internally at Howey Politics Indiana: How is it OK that Indiana continually leads the nation in clandestine meth labs? Why are hundreds of municipal and state employees being injured at meth labs as firefighters, cops, and code enforcers? Why is it OK that in 2013, 458 Hoosier kids were found in contaminated meth labs? Why is it OK that cities and towns are having to mitigate thousands of contaminated homes, cars, and hotel rooms? Why, why, why?

And are there solutions to be found in other states? Howey Politics reporter Matthew Butler, now working as a policy analyst for House Republicans, learned that Mississippi, Oregon, Missouri and Tennessee restricted pseudoephedrine sales at pharmacies for people who are not “patients of record.” The impacts were dramatic. Mississippi saw meth lab busts decline from 692 in 2009 to eight in 2013. Why shouldn’t Indiana follow this lead?

In 2016, a coalition that had been forming included State Rep. Ben Smaltz and State Sen. Randy Head, mayors with Accelerate Indiana Municipalities; the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council; and the Indiana State Police Alliance. The coalition ended up paddling in the same direction, producing Senate Enrolled Act 80.

It was a long slog as the Consumer Health Care Association conducted a statewide radio ad campaign warning consumers they would not find a ready supply of pseudoephedrine products. The legislation was bottled up in committee until House Speaker Brian Bosma intervened, clearing the way for a floor vote.

In one of the more dramatic presentations in modern legislative history, Smaltz appeared on the House floor flanked by two easels bearing large posters showing how much PSE could be purchased at one time by one individual. “I think that was shocking for a lot of people,” Smaltz said. “People could see the obscene amount of Sudafed you could buy. Why do we have to have the gram limit set so high?”

Read more here.