WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Tuesday hosted a briefing on how West Virginia has worked to address methamphetamine abuse.
Manchin’s office said the purpose of the briefing was to help spread awareness of efforts West Virginia and other jurisdictions have made to turn the tide against meth abuse and how communities can combat the rise of meth cooks.
“Crystal Meth destroys families and communities, and the costs associated with addiction – premature deaths, drug treatment, lost productivity, crime, health care expenses, environmental hazards, and child endangerment – are a massive drain on public resources. However, West Virginia and other jurisdictions have started to turn the tide against meth through collaboration between public and private leaders that has addressed the manufacture of meth without increasing regulation on small businesses or reducing access to important medicines. Crystal meth is a scourge across America, and it’s my hope that this briefing will show how communities can start bringing the fight to the meth cooks,” Manchin said.
The other speakers include:
- Lynn Fruth, owner of Fruth Pharmacies, and a leader in the fight against meth with efforts in her pharmacies;
- Courtney Hunter, director of advocacy at Partnership for a Drug Free America, to share the work that the advocacy community is doing to fight the crystal meth problem;
- Lori Phillips-Jones, former district attorney in Tennessee, whose efforts dropped meth labs in her jurisdiction by 80 percent; and
- Jim Langford, Georgia director of the Meth Project, to share the impact of crystal meth addiction on local communities.
Sen. Manchin report the following efforts to tackle domestic meth production:
August 2013: Officials with Fruth Pharmacy, a regional pharmacy chain in WV, announced that they would no longer be selling single-ingredient pseudoephedrine (PSE) products. They replaced Sudafed with Nexafed, a medication that works like Sudafed, but is tamper-resistant so it is more difficult to extract the PSE to make meth.
May – July 2014: Sen. Manchin called the CEOs at CVS Pharmacy, Kmart, Kroger, Rite-Aid, Walgreens, and Walmart requesting that they stop selling single-ingredient PSE in the state.
July 2014: After being urged by Senator Manchin, CVS, Walgreens, Kmart, and Rite-Aid stores in West Virginia stopped selling single-ingredient, non-tamper resistant PSE that is used to make meth. Additionally, Kroger stored in West Virginia announced they would limit the sale of single-ingredient PSE.
January 2015: Sen. Manchin sent individual letters to members of the West Virginia Legislature encouraging the body to pass legislation implementing the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy’s recommendations to curb the tide of meth production in the state. The Board’s recommendations include rescheduling PSE products as a controlled substance that requires a prescription to obtain, lowering the monthly PSE products as a controlled substance that requires a prescription to obtain, lowering the monthly PSE sales limit to 3.6g and lowering the annual PSE sales limit to 24g.
March 2015: Sen. Manchin introduced an amendment, which was included in the final FY2016 Congressional Budget, to encourage Congress to invest in efforts to combat meth abuse.
June 2015: Sen. Manchin sent a follow up letter to Walmart and Kroger, urging them to reconsider their earlier decision. Both stores have continued to refuse to remove single ingredient PSE products, but both agreed to meet the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy recommendations for monthly and annual sales limits.