Sudafed by RX

Reported by: Brittany Shaw

Edited by: Brittany Shaw
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Updated: 1/31/2013 6:57 pm

The little pills inside this box are the subject of a big debate among even bigger organizations: Legislators, law enforcement and the pharmaceutical industry.

Meth task force director Tommy Farmer says these two bills would basically require a prescription to buy sudafed-type products.

Farmer says he thinks it would be an improvement to the current blocking system pharmacists use.

"It is a tool. There's no question about that. But we also know from experience they're very resourceful at circumventing those type of restrictions," he says.

But are the few rotten apples ruining the process for the whole bunch?

Pharmacist Brad Standefer says he believes that's the case.

"It's going to be more work for the physicians to have to see the patients, it's more trouble for the patients because they're going to have to see the doctor or call to have that prescription refilled," Standefer says.

But Farmer says meth is a growing problem across the U.S., costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

He says there were 1800 seizures in 2012- a 7 percent increase.

There have already been 200 in 2013.

"The majority of those individuals are drug addicts. A drug addict is not going to, they're not rational. And the laws themselves, if it's just another bump in the road, and if it's just another thing that they can easily circumvent they're going to find a way to do it," Farmer says.

Standefer says he's concerned about what could happen without sudafed purchases being tracked in a central database.

"What a patient could do is go to multiple doctors, and multiple pharmacists, and still obtain sudafed," Standefer says. 

Farmer and Standefer agree the current regulation, allowing 9 grams in a 30 day period, is generous.

In Chattanooga, Brittany Shaw, WDEF NEWS 12.

About five meth labs are seized every day.

Farmer says they spent 4-point-6 million dollars in 2010 just cleaning up meth-waste.

He tells us one-third of the burn victims in Vanderbilt are meth-related, and their procedures can cost around one million dollars.

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