Burlison: Let Public Decide Pseudoephedrine Prescription Issue

Jun 27, 2013

Saying a prescription on medicines containing pseudoephedrine would play a significant burden on law-abiding Springfield citizens, Councilman Doug Burlison Thursday introduced a new amendment to the bill that would put the measure to a vote of the people. KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports. 

Supporters say the prescription-only bill would cut down on the number of meth labs. But Burlison has concerns over the impact it’ll have on families in purchasing the cold and allergy medicines they depend on.

“People are pretty well convinced that the additional hoops they will need to jump through as far as going to a doctor to get a prescription is just really gonna cause an obstacle to the access to these medicines, for allegory sufferers or whoever,” Burlison said.

His gauge is that a majority of citizens are against the proposed measure, and feels the bill would be soundly defeated if put before a vote.

But as other area cities decide to require a prescription for pseudoephedrine, meth producers may then be inclined to just travel to the towns that don’t have these restrictions.

“That’s exactly what happened to us.”

James Haik is a member of the Board of Alderman for the city of Ozark, which agreed earlier this month to require a prescription for medicines containing pseudoephedrine.

“We’re not specifically passing the problem off intentionally, but there is a problem, it is an issue, and we just took it upon ourselves to act, and try to get those unwanted individuals out of our community,” Haik said.

Haik, who at first had reservations about the idea, later sponsored the approved bill after learning of the potential dangers that came with businesses like Walmart and Walgreens selling close to 1,000 grams of medicines containing pseudoephedrine each month.

“The way that I saw it, it’s a safety factor for all of our citizens. You have people that our potentially high coming into our town, theft has went up down there, there’s been several meth busts right here in Ozark.”

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, other local cities to enact prescription-only laws include Branson, Hollister, and Joplin.

Councilman Doug Burlison says while he can’t ignore that these cities have put restrictions in place, that doesn’t mean Springfield should jump on the bandwagon.

“If somebody else enacts a bad idea, I don’t think that necessarily puts the responsibility on use to overreact against that and create some unintended consequences that none of us are gonna foresee,” Burlison added.  

State figures show that in 2012, there were nearly 2,000 methamphetamine incidents in Missouri, with 94 in Greene County alone. That includes laboratories, chemical, equipment and glassware seizures, and dumpsites. Through February of this year, the latest figures available, Greene County had accounted for 16 of the 325 meth incidents in the state.

Burlison says a decision on the prescription-only bill has been delayed until Springfield City Council’s July 15 meeting.