Frankfort, KY: This afternoon, Governor Ernie Fletcher, Lt Governor Steve Pence, and Senator Robert Stivers (R-Manchester), as well as dozens of community leaders gathered at Owsley County High School for a ceremonial bill signing for Senate Bill 63. SB 63 is designed to combat the growing problem of illegal methamphetamine use and manufacturing in Kentucky. The legislation will also regulate Internet sales of prescription drugs. The new law becomes effective in mid June.
“This law will make Kentucky a safer place to live and raise families. Senate Bill 63 will protect innocent children from illegal meth labs. It will help law enforcement officers crack down on the manufacturing and peddling of a substance that has devastated communities,” Governor Fletcher said. “We are serious about combating drug abuse in the commonwealth, and this law is a tremendous step in the right direction.”
“Meth manufacturing and use are at all-time highs and are present in nearly every Kentucky community. That is unacceptable,” said Lieutenant Governor Steve Pence, secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet. “This legislation strengthens the penalties for people who produce meth around children, and it will make it harder for criminals to obtain the key ingredient for production. We thank the General Assembly and everyone involved in making this legislation a reality.”
SB 63, which unanimously passed the House and Senate, will make it more difficult for criminals to acquire pseudoephedrine – the key ingredient for meth production and a common component in over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines. It will also toughen the law used to prosecute those who manufacture the highly addictive drug and increase the criminal stakes for people who put children’s lives in danger by exposing them to meth labs, which are potentially explosive.
As of legislation’s effective date – June 21 – only stores with pharmacies will be permitted to dispense tablets containing pseudoephedrine. They will be required to keep the tablets in a secure location, such as behind the pharmacy counter or in a locked case, and only pharmacists and pharmacists’ technicians will be allowed to distribute the pseudoephedrine tablets.
Customers will be allowed to purchase up to 9 grams of pseudoephedrine in tablet form (approximately 300 tablets) in a 30-day period. They will be required to present photo identification and provide their name and address in a logbook to obtain the tablets.
Gel caps and liquids containing pseudoephedrine are rarely used to make meth and will not be affected by the new legislation.
Kentucky’s restrictions on pseudoephedrine are patterned after an Oklahoma law that resulted in a nearly 50 percent drop in the number of law enforcement responses to meth labs in that state.
In the past seven years – from 1998 through 2004 – the instances of meth labs in Kentucky increased by nearly 3,000 percent – from 19 labs to 579. Nearly 150 children have been discovered in meth labs in the last two years.
Kentucky’s anti-meth law will also make it a felony to expose children to meth labs and allow law enforcement to charge individuals with manufacturing meth if they show intent to make the drug and possess two or more chemicals or items of equipment necessary for its production.
Previously, the law only permitted officers to charge a person with manufacturing meth if the individual possessed all of the chemicals and equipment needed to cook the drug.
In addition, SB 63 calls for the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy to regulate Internet pharmacies that ship drugs into the Commonwealth and requires that customers ordering drugs online have valid prescriptions.
The Office of Drug Control Policy, which the Governor created in September 2004, helped draft and coordinate input on SB 63, and the agency is now assisting with a plan to implement the legislation.
“The ODCP is proud to have helped bring people together on the Governor’s legislation to attack the methamphetamine problem,” ODCP Executive Director Teresa Barton said. “This legislation is a crime-prevention tool. We want it to be as difficult as possible to make meth in Kentucky, and this law is a step in the right direction.”
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