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Tennessee Proposes Prescriptions for Certain Pseudo Sales - Eric Alvarez

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Gov. Bill Haslam proposed legislation that would require some pseudoephedrine to come with a prescription backed by dozens of lawmakers at the state capitol Thursday.

The plan is to limit how much pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient in making meth, falls into the wrong hands.

Haslam says his plan would not affect the people that buy it for its intended purpose, only those that try to buy more than they probably need.

     Every day, Bryant Cary sells drugs at Riverside Village Pharmacy in east Nashville, but he becomes an extension of the law whenever someone wants to buy pseudoephedrine.

There's a process, Cary said.  There's a website database where you look up whether they've bought up to their limit that day or that month.

That's because of a 2005 state law aimed at getting pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient in making meth off the streets.

The TBIs meth task force says last year Tennessee had the second-most meth lab seizures in the country.

Despite our efforts to date, meth production remains a serious public health and safety issue in our state, Haslam said.  The results are tragic and deadly."

Now, the pseudoephedrine laws could soon get an upgrade.

We're proposing a bill to limit the access to pseudoephedrine and ephedrine to those who are using it illegally, Haslam said.

Here's how it would work:
- You could still go to your local pharmacy and buy 2.4 grams of pseudoephedrine just by showing only your driver's license. 
- If you come back within 30 days for another 2.4 grams, the pharmacist can decide to make or decline the sale
- If you come back for a third box, then you would need a prescription.

But how could that affect honest people at the register? Haslam says, it probably won't.

 We know that 97 percent of the people who buy cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine or ephedrine buy less than 4.8 grams per month, Haslam said.

Cary says 4.8 grams of pseudoephedrine should be enough to last a patient a whole month if used properly.  The real challenge will be deciding who really needs it.

It's definitely an added responsibility as the gatekeepers of medicine to the community to make sure that the medicine you sell goes into the right hands," Cary said.

Eighteen cities in Tennessee have already made pseudoephedrine available by only with a prescription.

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