Citywide Ordinance Would Tighten Sale of Meth Precursor Drugs - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/14/05

Citywide Ordinance Would Tighten Sale of Meth Precursor Drugs

A measure aimed at cracking down on meth labs could limit your choices at the pharmacy. Last year, Lubbock authorities uncovered at least 20 meth labs in our city. To help bring that number down, the Lubbock Board of Health recently voted to recommend passing an ordinance that would make it more difficult to buy the ingredients used to make the drug.

If city council approves this ordinance, it would mean some changes for those who buy and sell over the counter drugs such as Sudafed. Anything that you can use to make meth will be locked up or behind a counter.

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When cold and flu season hits, folks often turn to over-the-counter medicines for relief, but did you know your favorite medicine could sometimes be used in other settings to manufacture methamphetamines?

That's one reason why you have to ask for Sudafed at Caprock Pharmacy. It's been kept behind the counter for about a year. "It's just our own initiative to just not want to be part of the problem and be more a part of the solution," said Tony Jones, owner of Caprock Discount Drug.

The Lubbock Board of Health recently unanimously approved the ordinance. It states you can buy three packs of meth "precursor drugs," such as Sudafed, in a 30 day period. At the checkout counter you must sign a registry stating when and how much you buy.

Sellers have to keep the items behind the counter or in a locked display case. Lubbock Health Department Director Tommy Camden says it's to keep you safe. "It becomes a neighborhood issue as well. It becomes a life and safety issue and a public health safety issue for our entire community," said Camden.

But you can buy drugs to make meth at hundreds of locations in Lubbock. So here's a potential problem; you can walk into Target one day and buy a small part of what you need. Then you can go to a gas station, sign your name and you'll have what you need to make a batch of meth.

"There's no way of really knowing. The idea's good, but I don't think the reality of it is going to be very effective," said Jones. However, the ordinance states there will be a designated person to look for patterns, which will be turned over to police.

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As for customers getting angry at the change, Jones said, "everybody understands and everybody knows it's a good deal."

Camden will present the ordinance to city council next week. Monday, one council member said he wants to hear if police think the ordinance would help reduce meth activity.

Oklahoma has a similar statewide ordinance. And Camden said the number of meth labs law enforcement responds to in Oklahoma has now gone down by about 80%. However, he said it's likely that the manufacturers have moved to neighboring states, such as here in Texas, which is why we need to do something as well.

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