Winchester leads charge on fighting TN meth epidemic - WSMV Channel 4

Winchester leads charge on fighting TN meth epidemic

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Most people would agree that the meth epidemic has taken its toll in Tennessee and continues to wreak havoc.

But there's a big breakdown on the approach to stopping the meth problem. In places like Winchester, the local ordinances are actually tighter than state laws.

The state attorney general said what Winchester and 16 other cities are doing is actually unconstitutional. Those communities made pseudoephedrine a prescription drug, and they aren't backing down.

Winchester Police Chief Dennis Young said his city is standing its ground on the pseudoephedrine issue because residents support the change.

"I went to my pharmacists and talked to them and my community after the attorney general opinion came up, and I told them if we ever got challenged in court, we might have a problem defending it because of the attorney general opinion," Young said. "And they said you don't have to enforce it. They said we're going to enforce it ourselves. They loved it."

None of the cities in the nine Tennessee counties that passed this ordinance have nullified their ordinance.

The attorney general's office said it gives advice and predicts outcomes but is not telling people what to do.

Young traveled the state on his own dime, urging other communities to give up the convenience of over-the-counter pseudoephedrine.

"The argument from the other side is we're taking away the convenience from the customer for this valuable medicine. You'd think it cured cancer. It don't," Young said.

Young said none of the communities have been challenged because meth labs in those counties are down 44 to 70 and people feel safer.

He said he believes a majority of Tennesseans support the ordinance and what it does.

"We just never could overcome the hurdle of power and influence of the industry," Young said.

Of the 34 other cities considering passing the ordinance when the attorney general's opinion was issued in December 2013, none has approved it since, citing the possible legal problems it could present in the future.

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