New Bill Would Require Prescription for Some Cold Medicine - 8 News NOW

New Bill Would Require Prescription for Some Cold Medicine

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LAS VEGAS - Wellcare pharmacist Dennis Baltazar is beyond busy, helping a long line of customers.

"Last thing they want to do is wait longer in the pharmacy than they have to," he said.

One product he doesn't have to worry about selling is cold medicine that contains pseudoephedrine. Theft and patient abuse prompted the pharmacy to stop carrying those products.

"We decided it's not something we want to carry here," Baltazar said. "If we have someone we know needs it legitimately, we usually order it."

Many other Nevada pharmacies still carry those products. Nevada laws require customers sign a registry before they can buy. Now, State Senator Sheila Leslie wishes to add a new restriction. She is sponsoring a bill to make the drug available only with a prescription.

"It's a small price to pay for a great benefit: reducing meth use in Nevada," she said.

Meth abuse is considered one of the top law enforcement issues in the state. Meth users are difficult to find and catch. Meth cases clog the state's court systems and cost Nevada approximately a billion dollars a year. Stopping the problem would save millions.

"It lowers our cost in the judicial system," said Carson City District Attorney Neil Rombardo. "It lowers our cost for prosecutors. It lowers our cost for public defenders. It lowers our cost for sheriff offices."

"If we can control it and regulate pseudoephedrine, then we instantly control and regulate meth," he said.

Since one in ten high school students have tried meth, parent and Wellcare Pharmacy customer Lori Hooker likes the idea of more restrictions. "I have two boys, 12 and 16. I don't want them ever trying anything," she said.

Nearly a dozen states are considering similar legislation, which is already working in places like Mississippi. Six months after the Mississippi law took effect, meth-related crimes have dropped by 90%.

Senator Leslie plans to introduce the bill during the legislative session in February.

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