Let's think outside the box

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By James Roberts


It seems to me that state lawmakers are trying to treat the symptom and not the problem with the "Sudafed bill."

The bill, which has passed a Senate committee, would require anyone seeking medication containing pseudoephedrine, such as Sudafed, to have a prescription first. The thought is that by making it more difficult to get the drug, methamphetamine manufacturers would have a tougher time making the highly addictive drug.

There's no question that meth is a serious problem that must be dealt with. It's just that lawmakers seem to be going about it the wrong way.

By my estimation, the bill would punish the innocent more than it would hinder meth makers.

Let's say you wake up with the sniffles one morning. Instead of just going to your pharmacy and buying a box of Sudafed, you'd have to call and make an appointment to see your doctor. Going to see a doctor would require you to miss at least a few hours of work. And, unless you have the world's greatest insurance, the office visit would also require a co-pay.

During cold season, doctors' offices could well be crowded with people who just want their ol' reliable cold medication, providing for longer waits for those with more serious illnesses.

And what about the repercussions to health insurance? Usage would go up, which would translate in higher insurance costs. All because of a cold. Don't we already have enough problems with health care costs?

Instead of punishing the innocent, perhaps we could try a different course. Let's think outside the box and try punishing those arrested on meth charges, not those with a cold.

In my opinion, the real problem is not access to pseudoephedrine, it's the people convicted of meth charges receiving little punishment for their crimes. Sorry, judges, probation isn't really a punishment for these people. They need a few years in jail to think things over.

While I commend lawmakers for tackling some serious issues during this short session, I implore them to not simply add new legislation to combat a problem that already has a few laws dedicated to it.

Let's stick with the "meth check" system in place now. Let's beef up meth manufacturing laws to ensure that probation isn't an option when convicted.

Seems to me that jails were built for convicts. Let's put more of them there.