Are States Moving to Require a Prescription for Certain Cold Medicines?

In Florida, particularly northeast Florida, methamphetamine possession, sale, manufacturing and trafficking cases are on the rise. Local police and federal agents are looking out for various meth labs and making many arrests of those who are involved, either directly by participating in the manufacture of methamphetamine or indirectly by merely supplying some of the ingredients needed to make methamphetamine in the meth lab. One of the critical ingredients needed to make methamphetamine is pseudoephedrine, which is found in many cold medicines.

Cold medicines with pseudoephedrine used to be easy to obtain in any pharmacy, grocery store or Walmart right off of the shelf. A person could buy as much as he/she wanted without anyone thinking twice as to his/her intentions. However, as more and more meth labs popped up and more people were making methamphetamine, law enforcement agencies and lawmakers started cracking down on the unconditional sale of cold medicines that were being used to make meth. Today, cold medicines with pseudoephedrine are not kept on the shelf but in a locked container in the store. There is a limit on how much cold medicine with pseudoephedrine a person can buy, and the person has to sign a log and provide identification when he/she buys it. That way, when the police are investigating someone for methamphetamine manufacturing, or contributing to it, they can go to the local pharmacies to see if the person has been buying pseudoephedrine in any material quantities.

Despite these efforts to limit the purchase of cold medicines with pseudoephedrine, methamphetamine manufacturing is on the rise- 34% as of 2009 according to an article on

Two states are taking the attempt to limit pseudoephedrine purchases a step further. Oregon and Mississippi now require a doctor’s prescription to obtain cold medicines with pseudoephedrine. According to officials in Oregon, since the law requiring a prescription for pseudoephedrine products went into effect in 2006, meth lab arrests have decreased significantly. Kentucky is also considering such a law. The article does not mention whether Florida anticipates any changes relating to meth labs.

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