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Tennessee safety officials urge support for anti-meth legislation

January 27th, 2014 10:22 pm by Hank Hayes

Tennessee safety officials urge support for anti-meth legislation

Tennessee Mental Health Commissioner Doug Varney, Tennessee Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn speak during a stop Monday at Tri-City Aviation. Photo by Ned Jilton II.

BLOUNTVILLE — Public safety leaders within Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration urged state lawmakers Monday to get behind his anti-meth legislation that would limit access to pseudoephedrine or ephedrine products.

 Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons, Mental Health Commissioner Doug Varney and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn are traveling the state selling Haslam’s proposal to establish new 30-day purchase limits on the cold and sinus relief medications.

They contend Haslam’s bill will target so-called “smurfers, ” who buy large quantities to manufacture meth,  while not affecting people who normally use the medications.

“We feel it is the step that will dramatically reduce meth production in the state,” Gibbons said of Haslam’s bill during a stop at Tri-City Aviation. “We consider it a very good solution to the problem. ... This has not been tried anywhere else.” 

 The most frequently purchased box size contains 2.4 grams of pseudoephedrine or ephedrine, and the average Tennessee consumer bought 4.8 grams for the entire year during 2012, according to the Haslam administration.

Under the governor’s bill, people could buy up to 2..4 grams of pseudoephedrine or ephedrine in a 30-day period by presenting valid identification to a pharmacist.

For an expanded version of this article, please see Tuesday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.

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