State lawmakers have approved two major pieces of legislation dealing with drug abuse in Kentucky.
House Bill 4 tightens regulations on prescription pills. It passed the full Senate Wednesday afternoon. Around the same time, the House passed Senate Bill 3, which caps the amount of pseudoephedrine Kentuckians can buy every month without a prescription. Since both bills were amended, they will now return to their original chambers, where lawmakers must decide whether to agree with the changes or send them to conference committees for compromises.
The bills address growing problems that stem from the misuse of legal drugs.
HB4 is aimed largely at so-called pill mills—pain clinics that illegally deal prescriptions to Kentuckians and out-of-state visitors.
SB3 fights meth by regulating its main ingredient—pseudoephedrine, or PSE. PSE is a common ingredient in cold medicine, and lawmakers have long fought over how tightly legal decongestants must be controlled in order to stop meth production.
“Let’s quit arguing this,” said Representative Danny Ford in the House . “We shouldn’t be all session in getting this out. This should be a no-brainer, we need to get this done.”
But others argued the bill was unfair to law-abiding citizens.
“And at some point we’re going to make it a prescription medication again and that’s the concern,” said Representative Stan Lee. “Once you start giving up a little bit of your freedom it’s a hard thing to stop.”
A bill dealing with synthetic drugs passed the Senate earlier this week.