President Bush’s drug czar, John Walters, has strongly endorsed Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s plan to restrict cold medicine sales in the state, says The Oregonian. Walters predicted a backlash from business but said the drop in local methamphetamine production would be worth the inconvenience to consumers. “This is not an administration that favors regulation that is not necessary,” said Walters. “But in this case, this type of control will have an enormous difference.”
The governor asked the state Board of Pharmacy last Friday to adopt emergency rules temporarily regulating sales of products containing pseudoephedrine, which can be used to make methamphetamine. He proposed requiring stores to keep such products behind the counter, to require identification and to record names of all buyers. The Oregon Grocers Association denounced Kulongoski’s plan, saying “behind-the-counter mandates are not the answer and will only result in a limited, short-term solution that criminals will circumvent.” Walters said the proposal, similar to a plan enacted in Oklahoma, will create burdens on consumers. But he said Oklahoma reported a 60 percent drop in seizures of home methamphetamine labs in the first three months after the restrictions took effect. Walters said the Bush administration would oppose any congressional effort to prevent states such as Oklahoma and Oregon from creating rules more stringent than federal law.