A push to crack down on drug abuse in Kentucky’ has re-opened old disputes in the state Senate.
Governor Steve Beshear has promised to propose comprehensive anti-drug legislation this session. One Republican senator, Robert Stivers of Manchester, says he agrees with the governor’s plan, but wants to add one provision. Stivers wants a bill that would make pseudoephedrine—a key part of over-the-counter cold medicines and meth production—available by prescription-only to pass the General Assembly as well.
A similar measure died in the Senate last year and Stivers took his peers to task today to try to prevent the same from happening this session.
“It may inconvenience some people. It may be a little more expensive on some people,” Stivers said. “But when you get a text twice in a week that friends and family members are going into rehab,young people that you know, you can stick your head in the sand and ignore it or you can do something about it.”
Citizens flooded legislators’ phone lines last session to complain about making cold medicine like Sudafed available only by prescription. They said it would make the drugs too expensive and inconvenient to obtain.
Within an hour of Stivers’s floor speech, an advocacy group called Stop Meth, Not Meds, was once again telling citizens to call lawmakers. That group prefers what they call a compromise bill by state Rep. Brent Yonts, a Democrat. Yonts’s bill would only require prescriptions for those with previous meth convictions.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is likely to take up the measure next week.