It’s been four years since Oregon made pseudoephedrine prescription only. Pseudoephedrine is not only the active ingredient in many cold remedies; it’s also a very effective way to make the street drug meth. Since pseudoephedrine was taken out of the retail stores, law enforcement officers say the number of meth labs in the state has fallen dramatically. In Lincoln County, for example, District Attorney Rob Bovett says the previous average of a couple dozen meth lab busts a year has dropped to exactly none. But the supply of meth hasn’t gone away and the effect of the law on addiction rates and treatment outcomes isn’t clear.
Laws have been introduced in California and Washington — and in a handful of other states across the nation — but so far Oregon remains the only state to make pseudoephedrine legally available only by prescription. Senator Ron Wyden announced recently he wants to see a national law modeled after Oregon’s.
Are you living in a community that has been affected by meth? Has someone close to you been hooked on meth or have you yourself struggled with meth addiction? Are you in law enforcement? What changes have you seen in the last four years with respect to Oregon’s meth problem? What else needs to be done?
- Rob Bovett: Lincoln County District Attorney
- Dezi: Mother of two young children and recovering methamphetamine addict
- Heather Crow-Martinez: Program Director for BestCare Treatment Services in Madras
- Rick Rawson: Co-director of the Integrated Substance Abuse Program at the UCLA School of Medicine