Iowa legislators are taking steps to curb the state’s growing methamphetamine problem. Agent Todd Jones of the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement called yesterday for limiting sales of the key meth ingredient pseudoephedrine. One
proposal would limit sales to pharmacies, but
Rep. Clel Baudler said that was unacceptable because many small towns have only convenience stores. Hy-Vee Food Store officials will move products with pseudoephedrine to the pharmacy, where buyers must sign for purchases. The chain’s 219 stores limit purchases of 14 name-brand cold, allergy, and sinus remedies to two packages per visit.
The House Judiciary Committee is expected tomorrow to consider proposing a crime of child endangerment for those allowing a minor to be present where meth is manufactured. Officials say 958 Iowa children have been exposed to meth or its precursors over the past two years.
Lawmakers will study what can be done to prevent the theft of anhydrous ammonia, a fertilizer used in making meth. Methamphetamine drove about 5,300 Iowans into drug treatment in 2002, up 43 percent from 1997. The number of meth labs seized is up from eight in 1995 to 1,009 in 2002.