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Police chief won't imposenew meth law

Associated Press

MARTIN, Tenn. - The police chief in Martin says he won't enforce a new city ordinance that requires a prescription for anyone to buy a product containing any methamphetamine precursor.

Chief David Moore said the decision is based on an opinion from the Tennessee Attorney General's office that says the 19 cities and counties who passed prescription-only pseudoephedrine ordinances did so illegally. The opinion says the ordinance violates state laws that give the Tennessee legislature the power to regulate prescription drugs.

Moore said he wouldn't recommend enforcing an ordinance that the Tennessee attorney general opposes, but he said he hopes the state one day will have a law making pseudoephedrine a prescription-only drug.

Martin is one of three cities in Weakley County that have the ordinance.

Currently the only statewide methamphetamine law in Tennessee is that every purchase of pseudoephedrine made in pharmacies is tracked by law enforcement.

Last March, a bill that would have required pseudoephedrine to be prescription-only throughout the state was sent to the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee and discussed. The committee decided to roll the bill over to next year. Committee members said there wasn't enough information to move forward and they requested more figures to see if the bill would be useful.

In West Tennessee, local laws were approved requiring residents who live in Martin, Dresden and Gleason to go to the doctor before they could buy any medication with pseudoephedrine in it, such as Sudafed, Tylenol Cold and Theraflu Cold.

"We've seen more rural areas of Weakley County have meth production problems," Moore said. "Most of the meth labs are dealt with by the county Sheriff's Department."

Weakley County Sheriff Mike Wilson said the laws making pseudoephedrine illegal are in the cities of Martin, Dresden and Gleason only, not the county as a whole.

Moore said the revision of the ordinance would be up to the mayor and city board.

Under Tennessee's law, the Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force Pharmacy Portal sends a copy of each individual sale to law enforcement within 20 seconds of the purchase being made. The portal has helped the task force capture more than 80 percent of the state's pseudoephedrine purchases electronically, according to the task force website.

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