Wisconsin is trying to toughen its laws and move the cold medicines behind your pharmacist's counter.
Both the state Senate and Assembly approved the Crackdown on Meth Act Tuesday. It next goes to the governor for his
"This bill is important because it will prevent the spread of meth production," says Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar).
The bill would re–classify pseudoephedrine as a Schedule V narcotic, meaning it can't be left out on the shelves. Pseudoephedrine is the main ingredient in most cold medicines like Sudafed, and it's also the main ingredient in meth.
By taking it off the shelves, lawmakers hope to shut down the homegrown production of meth. "This is the one precursor that at this point you can't sub," says Rep. Kitty Rhoades (R-Hudson).
Meth is a major problem throughout the great plains states, and it's spreading into Wisconsin. "It's a plague on western Wisconsin right now and we pray every day that it will not happen in other parts of the state," says Rep. Mark Pettis (R-Hertel).
Under the bill you can't purchase more than 7.5 grams of pseudoephedrine per month. You have to show an I.D. and sign a log book for each purchase.
That may sound inconvenient, but lawmakers don't want to hear any whining. "There's no inconvenience compared to the costs to society as a result of the problems associated with meth," says Sen. Jauch.
Liquid cold medicine and liquid gelcaps will still be available on the shelves, because you can't use them to make meth. "Those products will readily be available to people who need access when a pharmacy might be closed–a trucker going down the highway who suddenly starts getting hay fever," says Rep. Rhoades.
Supporters say this law will be similar to laws already in place in Minnesota and Iowa. Lawmakers say a similar bill in Oklahoma led to an 80 percent decrease in meth labs in that state.