By Nita Johnson
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
The bill requiring products containing pseudoephedrine to be prescription-only has spurred controversy from various groups throughout the state.
Proponents of the bill feel the prescription-only status is a sure stop to meth makers obtaining the one vital component needed for the toxic drug. Opponents argue that those persons who abuse are causing unnecessary costs to those who actually need and use pseudoephedrine products for true health-related issues.
A statement from an experienced law enforcement officer from another town was that those persons wishing to “get high” will find whatever substance and excuse to do so, regardless of the specific chemical or component needed to do so.
While that statement is true to one extent, the restriction of pseudoephedrine as an over-the-counter item is a major step toward reducing the massive drug problem that torments our county. With more than 400 meth labs destroyed last year, it is more than apparent that the criminals and drug-prone population is stepping beyond the realms of the KASPER system that registers purchases of pseudoephedrine. And without some restraints, the problem will continue.
Indeed, it is sad when society as a whole must suffer and bear unnecessary financial burdens from those who abuse substances intended to alleviate pain and suffering rather than cause it. Indeed, it is sad when those who do not wish to contribute productively to society become a burden on it.
However, it is vital to point out that those gainfully employed, tax-paying citizens are already bearing the brunt of this lack of responsibility by drug users/abusers and criminals. Tax money from the employed population provides the housing and food for those who are incarcerated for various crimes. Those gainfully employed and hard-working persons who contribute a substantial portion of each and every paycheck for state and federal taxes are providing medical coverage to those who have never bothered to work but who draw government funds as means of support. Add that to the huge numbers of working parents who struggle each year to provide housing, food, clothing and occasional gifts to their own children while those “low income” families who never turn their hand toward any term slightly resembling “work” have boxes of food, clothing and toys delivered each holiday and school season that are usually far more expensive than those given to children of the working families.
How about those persons whose income registers above the poverty level who have no children or have no itemized expenses to write off their yearly income tax returns? Are they not required to pay state and federal taxes year-round and, at tax time, while others who work only a few months or a few weeks each year add a child onto their meagerly reported income and receive thousands of dollars in yearly refunds?
Those individuals who fail to properly register their vehicles or carry insurance are also a cost on the honest, hard-working people who strive to abide by the laws of the land but who inevitably pay the price for those who do not.
It has long been society’s trend to put the most responsibility on those who are most responsible. Making pseudoephedrine a prescription drug is just another step toward the unconscionable outcome that the well-intended pay for those with less admirable aspirations. But action is essential if we wish to curb the manufacture of methamphetamine that has destroyed so many lives across our state and nation. Those folks from the well-intended and law abiding families who need pseudoephedrine-based medications may have to pay the price through a doctor visit and the price of a prescription. But making pseudoephedrine a prescription-only drug may also save the lives of many others, especially those children who are exposed to the harmful side effects of methamphetamine by the irresponsible adults who make and use it around them.
Is the cost of an office visit and prescription really more important than the safety of an innocent child or young person whose future could be at stake?