Meth Bills Draw Opponents In General Assembly

Kentucky lawmakers return to Frankfort next week, and opponents are already lining up to fight a pair of prescription drug bills awaiting legislative action.

Pseudoephedrine, which is found in most over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines, is a key ingredient in illegally manufactured methamphetamine. And with the number of meth labs exploding in Kentucky, two bills requiring prescriptions for medicines containing pseudoephedrine have been introduced in Frankfort. The Kentucky Medical Association favors prescription requirements, but its former President, Dr. Donald Neel, does not.

“With the increasing costs of medical care it’ll cost from $60 to $100 for a patient to come in to get a prescription for a pseudoephedrine product that they’re used to self-medicating with, and it’s been perfectly well accepted all of this time,” he says.

The bills, sponsored by Rep. Linda Belcher and Sen. Tom Jensen, are awaiting action in the House and Senate Judiciary committees. The 2011 legislative session, currently in recess, resumes next Tuesday.

Published by Tony McVeigh

Veteran broadcast journalist Tony McVeigh has been covering Kentucky politics since 1986, reporting for Clear Channel Communications before joining Kentucky Public Radio in 2004. His stories are aired by seven KPR affiliates, whose signals blanket the Commonwealth and parts of surrounding states. McVeigh began his broadcasting career at WRFC in Athens, Georgia, while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia. He has extensive anchor/reporter experience, including stints with South Carolina Network and Georgia Radio News Service in Atlanta. In 2007 and 2008, McVeigh was named Best Radio Reporter in the Kentucky Associated Press Awards. He also picked up consecutive AP Awards for Best Political Coverage. McVeigh won four Kentucky AP Awards in 2009, six in 2010 - including Best Political Coverage and Best Hard News Feature - and three in 2011. His coverage of the 2007 Kentucky governor's race topped the Political Reporting category of the Society of Professional Journalists Green Eyeshade Awards of 2008. In 2009, McVeigh placed second in Courts and Law Reporting in the Atlanta-based competition for journalists in 11 Southern states. McVeigh is also the proud recipient of an Individual Liberty Award from the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The Brunswick, Georgia, native is a die-hard UGA football fan who enjoys photography, astronomy, live music, hiking Kentucky's Red River Gorge and exploring the state's beautiful back roads. McVeigh and his big, fat, black cat Simon, reside in Frankfort, KY.