Bill addresses drugs used to make meth in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – Lawmakers in Springfield are considering whether to require prescriptions for some common medicines as they look to solve the methamphetamine problem in Illinois.

A Senate panel heard testimony Thursday on a bill that would make drugs containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine Schedule III controlled substances and require prescriptions for them, the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reported.

Pekin Police Chief Greg Nelson told lawmakers that pseudoephedrine is the key to making methamphetamine.

“There have been several efforts made legislatively that have helped,” Nelson said. “But the meth users and the meth cooks are adapting and changing, and we need to adapt and change also.”

Illinois lawmakers have previously restricted the purchase of similar drugs by limiting the amount that can be bought and requiring consumers to show identification.

However, others argued that requiring prescriptions for some decongestants would be a burden on consumers.

“Prescriptions just make it very expensive at a time when our country’s trying to get a handle on health care and make it more affordable,” said Carlos Gutierrez, a drug lobbyist for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. “This would make it less affordable.”

State Sen. Dave Koehler, a Peoria Democrat, said he sponsored the proposal so law enforcement could better deal with the methamphetamine problem in the state.

___

The bill is SB3502.

___

Information from: The Pantagraph, http://www.pantagraph.com