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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas on Friday became the fourth state this year to entertain making the popular decongestant pseudoephedrine available only by prescription.
Rep. Marshall Wright, D-Forrest City, on Feb. 18 filed House Bill 1444 in an effort to address the meth problem by rescheduling the precursor ingredient PSE from schedule V to schedule III. “We’ve got a growing epidemic in Arkansas that we can’t ignore anymore,” Wright said, as reported by the Arkansas News. “Meth is killing us as a state. It has wide-reaching, detrimental effects on children, families and law enforcement.”
Wright suggested the prescription-only PSE law in neighboring Mississippi is driving meth addicts into Arkansas in search of PSE-containing products.
Tennessee, which shares a border with both Mississippi and Arkansas, is considering similar legislation.
The three other states with which Arkansas shares a border — Missouri, Oklahoma and Louisiana — have an electronic tracking system in place. Missouri and Louisiana both employ a multi-state database through the National Precursor Log Exchange.
Sen. Percy Malone, D-Arkadelphia, who owns a pharmacy, stands opposed to Wright’s bill, the Arkansas News reported.
Arkansas already utilizes LeadsOnLabs to help electronically track the sale of PSE statewide. The state instituted the LeadsOnLabs system statewide in an attempt to eradicate meth abuse in the state in 2008, under the direction of Attorney General Dustin McDaniel. The system has been credited with helping law enforcement bust meth labs and track down meth abusers across the state.