Lawmakers rejected several proposals spearheaded by a local state representative this year designed to hinder methamphetamine manufacturers in the state.
Rep. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, filed a bill this year which would have restricted the sale of pseudoephedrine, a cough and cold medication, to products which were specially formulated to restrict the extraction of the medicine.
Such a product is not currently available on the shelves, but a privately owned St. Louis company, Highland Pharmaceuticals, is hoping to get government approval to sell the products soon.
The products would feature a technology the company calls Tarex, a lipid-, or fat-based tamper resistant technology.
Schatz said the medication from Highland should be available for purchase by mid-June or -July.
Schatz’s bill never made it out of the House’s crime prevention and public safety committee.
Then, Schatz attempted to lower the amount of pseudoephedrine people can purchase. His attempted amendment to Senate Bill 755, a bill which would make it a crime for people to disturb religious ceremonies, was rejected. The bill was amended more than a dozen times in mid-May.
Schatz said his amendment would have lowered the quantity of pseudoephedrine a person could purchase from the current maximum of three boxes of 96 pills, or nine grams, per month for 12 consecutive months to one box, or 2.88 grams, per month for eight consecutive months.
“It is far more than anyone would ever need,” Schatz said.
He said the 2.88 gram figure came from an estimated 30 milligram dose taken every eight hours for 30 days.
“The boxes recommend not taking it for more than five consecutive days,” Schatz noted. “Pharmaceutical companies have distorted the issue. They oppose anything that stops them from selling and making money off this product.
“There was something like 1.5 million boxes (of pseudoephedrine sold) in Missouri last year,” he said. “Pharmaceutical companies say that all went to people who needed it and that simply isn’t true.”
Schatz said he was disappointed that his bill and amendment both failed.
“We made no progress on the meth lab situation,” Schatz said. “We’ve done nothing to address our status as the No. 1 meth-producing state.”
He said unless legislation is passed, the situation is likely to get worse, because the state will see a reduction in $1.5 million in funding to the Missouri Sheriff Methamphetamine Action Relief Team, or MoSMART, from both the federal and state governments.
“Those dollars are used to fight the meth lab situation in Missouri. That’s probably funding for about 30 officers… who will no longer be out there combating the problem,” Schatz said.