Even though the battle cry has been sounded for pseudoephedrine to be only by prescription, it will take time before any state law might be passed.
Before any laws are passed, however, a community-wide education effort about the dangers of meth and the shake ‘n bake efforts could be started.
Tulsa District Five Councilor Chris Trail said that while he wished other ideas might been generated at the Tulsa Meth Summit, he was pleased with the attendance.
State Rep. Sue Tibbs is doing a study and efforts will be made to inform other state representatives about the seriousness of the problem, he said. “They may not have the meth in their district at this time, but it is ‘killing us’ here.”
Plans from the summit are being reviewed to see what steps can be taken locally to start dealing with the problem.
District Attorney Tim Harris said he will be working closely with the Oklahoma Speaker of the House Kris Steele for an interim study to obtain more information about the seriousness of the meth epidemic and an effective way to stop it in Tulsa and Oklahoma.
“If we can take away their pseudoephedrine supply source, it will help cut down on meth labs,” Harris said. “I talked with meth cookers and they told me they couldn’t cook if they didn’t have the supply. I want to make that supply source unavailable and drive these people out of Tulsa and Oklahoma.”
Karen Keith, Tulsa County District Two commissioner, said the small group she chaired following the summit felt that utilizing social media and other forms of media to educate people about the dangers of meth was only a beginning.
Oklahoma legislators didn’t have an opportunity to have full understanding of the importance of requiring pseudoephedrine being required by prescription during the last legislative session, she said.
Keith felt that many lawmakers were totally unaware of the dangers that Tulsa County Sheriff’s deputies, other law enforcement and emergency personnel encountered when dealing with either the shake ‘n bake or meth labs.
Chris Benge, former Oklahoma House of Representatives speaker, asked by the Tulsa City Council to chair one of the discussion groups, said the proper course of action is to have a legislative study about the meth problem to make lawmakers aware about the issues involved.
“At this point, any state action must be preceded by a study before any kind of action can be taken. Legislators are dealing with many issues and everyone must be respectful of the lawmaking process.”
“I think that requiring pseudoephedrine be accessible by prescription only has risen from a sense of urgency and a real need to address the issue,” Benge said. The final solution is not an easy answer. No one should go in with a preconceived idea about how to fix the problem. Facts are needed from several sources and perspectives that will result in a real answer.
By Ralph Schaefer of the Tulsa Daily Commerce & Legal News