A grassroots effort is gaining serious momentum to stop the plague of methamphetamine in the state. So far, 18 Tennessee cities have made pseudoephedrine prescription-only.
Officers in those areas say the results have been staggering, and now another county wants to become the biggest in the state to make pseudoephedrine a prescription drug.
Michael Pate, an investigator with the 23rd Judicial Drug Task Force, said that just on Tuesday, seven known meth cooks tried to buy pseudoephedrine at a single Middle Tennessee drug store.
"That's just one store," Pate said. "There's just not enough of us to do what needs to be done. Just not enough of us."
In May, Winchester became the first city in the state to make pseudoephedrine prescription-only, and 17 other cities followed suit.
Since then, those communities have reported a 69 percent drop in meth production.
Dickson County now hopes to become the largest county in the state to make the move.
"If they pass it and we don't have any access in the county, what that will do is our offenders will leave the county. They'll go to other counties. It's not going to end. They'll go to Davidson County and Montgomery County, and they're going to purchase," Pate said. "What we hope is, just like in East Tennessee, when the first city passes it, then the next city passes it."
Pate said law enforcement hopes the ordinance issue is as contagious as the meth issue.
But not everyone agrees. The state legislature balked on a bill in its last session that would have made pseudoephedrine a prescription drug across the state.
"We should be able to control the sale of it a little better than by just making somebody go spend $40 to get some prescriber to write a prescription," said State Rep. David Shepard, D-Dickson.
The board of pharmacists has asked the state attorney general for an opinion to see if these local ordinances are even legal.
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