Legislation would allow tracking of drug found in cold medicine

Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 12:17pm

Two state lawmakers introduced legislation Thursday to establish a statewide, industry-funded electronic tracking system for purchases of cold and allergy medicine containing an ingredient in methamphetamine.

Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mount Juliet, and Rep. Debra Maggart, R-Hendersonville, said their bill would head off attempts to ban over-the-counter sales of cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine. Such legislation already has been filed in the legislature, and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn said this week he favors requiring prescriptions to buy cold and allergy products that contain the meth ingredient.

At a news conference, Beavers said, “This kind of government intrusion in our lives is not the solution we need to attack the meth problem in Tennessee. We should not punish the tens of thousands of innocent Tennesseans who need this over-the-counter medication to get at the criminals who are using the drug illegally to produce meth when there is another approach which is very effective. Our legislation offers a proven, effective, non-governmental solution to the problem, without pushing up the cost of the medication on consumers by requiring them to visit a physician to obtain a prescription.”

Under the legislation, pharmacists could track purchases of the medicine electronically, so that they could refuse a sale that exceeds a customer’s legal limit. The bill would make Tennessee the 13th state to require this e-tracking system.

“For all law-abiding Tennesseans, the experience of buying cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine at the local pharmacy will not change,” Maggart said. “However, for those looking to purchase more than their legal limit, this system will immediately deny the sale, and law enforcement will possess a powerful tool to track down these individuals when they attempt to do so.”

Filed under: City News

4 Comments on this post:

By: rmd2a1 on 2/3/11 at 11:50

Ummm...isn't this done already? Every time I buy allergy medicine that contains pseudophederine, the pharmacist takes my ID, and keeps a record of it. Once I was refused, because I tried to buy more medicine one day too early. (The pharmacist literally told me to "come back tomorrow".) If this is not done already, then what is going on presently when I have to surrender my ID?

By: nashtnman on 2/3/11 at 12:29

So let me get this straight, WE SHOW ID AND ARE TRACKED AND MONITORED for our cold medicine purchases but it is unconstitutional to ask for ID from a suspected Illegal alien? Has everyone had enough yet?

By: AmyLiorate on 2/3/11 at 3:51


Less big brother, not more!

Haven't we learned in the last 4 decades that even the worst drugs will still find their market! All we do is inconvenience 4 million people to find a few hundred idiots on meth. If meth is magically eradicated tomorrow the idiots will find something else to get high on next year.

It's be better to just put meth warnings on the sudefed package, like cigarettes.

By: LoboSolo on 2/4/11 at 6:28

@Amy and Nash ... spot on.

Here's a quote from a recent article:

So with meth, we made it illegal, and then it turned out you could make the stuff from cold medicine in a very dangerous and dirty home production process, so we made it hard to get cold medicine, so they switched to an even more dangerous process, so now we're going to make it even harder to get cold medicine . . .

At every step, we don't consider the whole cost of functionally prohibiting cold medicine; we consider only the marginal cost of the new prohibition. And we compare that marginal cost to the whole cost of drug addiction, nasty amateur meth labs, etc. This policy ratchet means we can easily end up in a situation where the sum of our drug laws are worse than the disease of drug addiction, even though no one particular prohibition is.


Always question authority. It drives those who think they have it insane.