PDT Staff Writer
The Ohio House of Representatives passed legislation Wednesday that would allow for the tracking of over-the-counter sales of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine in real time, which could be used in the manufacturing of dangerous methamphetamines. The bill passed unanimously 98-0.
Sponsored by State Reps. Terry Johnson, R-McDermott, and Danny Bubp, R-Lake Waynoka, House Bill 334 would require retailers and distributors of the drugs to participate in an electronic tracking system of the products through the National Precursor Log Exchange. It also allows the state’s attorney general to enter into an agreement with National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators, which administers the exchange, so that the information can be used by state and local law enforcement to identify and address drug-seeking behaviors.
“The National Precursor Log Exchange is the next step in fighting against illegal drug activity in Ohio,” Johnson said. “It will not only strengthen law enforcement, but also alert the retailer if a person would be going over the maximum daily or monthly purchase limit on the stimulants, in which case the sale would not go forward.”
The United States Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 requires that retail sales of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine be regulated, including setting limits on the purchase in a single transaction of the drugs to no more than 3.6 grams per day. HB 334 applies the same limit to state law and also regulates the sale of ephedrine in the same manner already set for pseudoephedrine in state law.
Johnson sponsored House Bill 93 early in his term. It was sent on the fast-track through the House and then through the Senate. The legislation set controls over so-called pain clinics, and is one of the things being credited for the closing of nine such facilities in Scioto County.
“I’m thrilled to see this bill pass the House,” Johnson said of HB 334. “By attacking the scourge of pill mills, we have done much to dry up the supply of prescription opioids, but we must remember that we are fighting an even bigger drug problem. This bill provides law enforcement with an invaluable tool to crack down on meth, stiffens the backbone of current law, and it does it at no cost using existing resources.”
Johnson also had a resolution, House Concurrent Resolution 43, referred out of Veterans Affairs committee the same day as the introduction of HB 334. HCR 43, joint sponsored by Johnson and Rep. Kenny Yuko (D-Euclid), would urge Congress to appropriate funds for Veterans Affairs Clinics (or VA clinics) to use a video-conferencing feature to allow veterans to have access to a doctor who specializes in traumatic brain injuries regardless of geographic location. This would expand the access of veterans afflicted with TBI to the treatment they need.
“It was a big day,” Johnson said. “It is hard to pass legislation, but things have been moving lately, and with any luck, there will be more to follow.”
The bill must now be introduced in the State Senate.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org