Governor signs new law to crack down on meth production

By: Kate Burgess Email
By: Kate Burgess Email

ALCOA, Tenn. (WVLT)--Governor Bill Haslam signed a new law to crack down on meth production Monday. The I Hate Meth act implements a real time tracking system to find people who are buying pseudo ephedrine to manufacture and sell the dangerous drug. But in the battle against what lawmakers call an "epidemic," it might not be enough.

"Meth addicts go to extremes to get the products that they need to manufacture methamphetamine, said addiction expert Webster Bailey. Extremes that usually land them behind bars, or worse. "An extremely small percentage of meth addicts find recovery and continue using. So they either end up in jail or dead," he said.

At the Cornerstone of Recovery, Bailey has seen what the drug does to people. And he doesn't think any new laws or penalties can change the nature of the addiction. He said, "when you're addicted, you'll do whatever it takes to get the substance. It doesn't matter if that means traveling to another state, or to another county, or to another country."

Tennessee lawmakers have been trying to monitor pseudo ephedrine sales for years; a task that falls mostly on pharmacists.

Hank Peck, a pharmacist at Long's Drugstore in Knoxville said, "it's important to have some interaction. When people come in asking for that sort of thing, go out and talk to them."

But Bailey said limiting access won't help. "It's supply and demand. And I hope this act gets in the way of some of that, but I don't think it's the solution to end the methamphetamine epidemic."

So what is the solution for what Bailey calls our "drug using society?" He said people need to stop thinking that a pill or a drink or a fix is going to make us feel better. "Getting back values, and to the basics and realizing that more is not better."

The law takes effect July 1st.

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