The State Senate has given unanimous approval to legislation that would make it harder for methamphetamine manufacturers to get ingredients needed to make the drug. Senator Dick Wilkerson is author of House Bill 2176. He called it the most proactive step the legislature has ever taken to address this growing problem.
“Oklahoma was first in the nation last year in the number of per capita methamphetamine lab seizures. This is an addiction-driven problem that is like a cancer eating away at communities across the state. We need to do everything we can to stop meth in its tracks,” said Senator Wilkerson, D-Atwood.
Wilkerson, a former deputy director of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, said the bill was also known as the “Trooper Nik Green Act” in honor of an Oklahoma highway patrolman who was gunned down, allegedly by a man operating a mobile meth lab out of a car.
House Bill 2176 would restrict the purchases of certain decongestant medicines that contain pseudoephedrine, one of the main ingredients used to make meth. The bill would make pseudoephedrine tablets a schedule V substance that could only be sold at licensed pharmacies.
“Basically, anyone buying pseudoephedrine in tablet form would have to show a photo I.D. and sign for the purchase. We would require pharmacies to keep track of who buys the drug, and customers would be restricted to buying no more than 12 boxes over a 30 day period,” said Wilkerson. The Senator noted that gel caps, liquids and children’s medications would be exempt.
The legislation now goes back to the House for final approval before being sent to Gov. Brad Henry for his signature. Henry has already voiced his support for the measure. The bill will become law as soon as it is signed.