WASHINGTON A law that would expand the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 was introduced last month by Rep. Bart Gordon, D-Tenn. The bill would require distributors of pseudoephedrine products to sell only to self-certified retailers registered with the Drug Enforcement Agency.
It also would require the DEA to create an online database where distributors could check if retailers have certified that staff has been properly trained. The bill also would clarify that a retailer who negligently fails to file self-certifications, as required, can face civil fines.
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores expressed its support of the legislation. “These provisions will help prevent the diversion of pseudoephedrine … products for illegitimate purposes, while still allowing consumers with legitimate needs to access these necessary medications,” stated NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson in a recent letter to Gordon.
“Even with the 2006 law, our country still has a huge meth problem,” stated Gordon in introducing the legislation, called the Combat Methamphetamine Enhancement Act of 2009. “In Tennessee alone, which leads the Southeast in the number of meth labs, 1,300 labs are expected to be seized by the year’s end. We need to do what we can to further reduce access to meth ingredients — this bill will do just that.”
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., is co-sponsor of the bipartisan legislation. "Over the years, the Drug Enforcement Agency has had trouble identifying noncompliant stores — with the number of stores estimated to be in the tens of thousands,” Sensenbrenner said. “This legislation will make it tougher for individuals to make meth, and therefore make it even more difficult to buy meth.”
According to the DEA Web site, 53,989 retailers had self-certified and registered their operations by Oct. 27, 2008, including 27,678 pharmacies and drug stores. The self-certification program includes a documented training program for all employees engaged in the sale of PSE products.
The Combat Methamphetamine Enhancement Act already has passed the Senate with bipartisan support after being introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in January. The legislation presently is before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.