City considering Rx Only allergy meds

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Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - Justin Jones

MARTIN, Tenn. - Give and take. That's what a police chief in one local town says people will have to do if they want to be a partner in the war on meth.

Martin, Tennessee Police Chief David Moore is proposing an ordinance that would make it illegal to buy pseudoephedrine without a prescription and hoping other cities will follow his lead.

Pseudoephedrine is a popular nasal decongestant, but also a key ingredient in all forms of meth making.

The people in Martin, Tennessee behind the proposal say they're doing this not just for the health of the community, but to save tax dollars.

Chief Moore says people don't realize the burden meth makers place on taxpayers.

In Weakley County last year 30 children had to be placed in foster care because of meth-related child abuse and neglect.  That cost the tax payers an average of $107 per child per day for foster care.

Cleanup is even more costly.

Officers were forced to quarantine nine homes, cleanup cost an average of $7,000 per home.

The police chief and others want this stopped and they're willing to take drastic measures to do it.

There are different meth-making methods, but one thing's the same.

"The one key ingredient they have to have is ephedrine, pseudoephedrine," Martin Police Chief David Moore said.

Moore hopes city alderman vote yes on the ordinance, which would require a prescription for everyone buying pseudoephedrine.

"It's going to be a tough decision," Moore said.

Catherine Robilio is part of a drug-fighting coalition to get people on board.

"The whole point of the coalition is to gather the community support and talk to people in the community and get help in efforts like this," Robilio said.

She said so far this idea has been popular.  Wednesday, Local 6 discovered that outside a Martin pharmacy.

Even allergy sufferers, pseudoephedrine users, say they'd give it up to stop meth makers.

Martin hopes to be one of the first cites to send a message to people shopping for meth ingredients.

It's important to note some pharmacists won't sell pseudoephedrine at all.

In Tennessee, pharmacists cannot sell more than 3.6 grams of pseudoephedrine per day.  That's 120 tabs per day.  There's a nine gram limit per month.  That's 300 tabs.

In Kentucky, pharmacists can only sell 7.2 grams per month, or 240 tabs.

In Missouri, the limit is 9 grams per month, again 300 tabs.

In Illinois, 7.5 grams a month, or 250 tabs.

Under the ordinance, pharmacists who break the rules would face a $50 fine per violation and would have to pay court costs.

Local 6 reached out to the pharmacist at Van's Pharmacy in Martin to see how he felt about it, but he had no comment.

The mayor of Martin said the six alderman will vote on the measure Monday.  There will then be a period of public comment for people to weigh in.

One month after that, leaders will vote again.

If the ordinance becomes law, it'll likely go into effect in September.

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