A database that tracks the purchase of pseudoephedrine, a common meth-making ingredient, is working.
That’s according to Bridget Lambert, president of the West Virginia Retailers Association. She issued a statement Tuesday saying data from NPLEx, the National Precursor Log Exchange, obtained by the Kanawha County Substance Abuse Task Force, shows a 35 percent reduction in pseudoephedrine sales across the state.
“Today we have quantifiable proof that these laws, including the real-time pseudoephedrine blocking system, are indeed working,” Lambert said in the statement. “The data shows that even places like Kanawha County, where meth crime is traditionally the highest in the state, pseudoephedrine sales are down 68.5 percent.”
Lambert credits law enforcement agencies and the vigilance of the retail community with helping reduce the number of meth lab busts. Currently, state law limits the amount of pseudoephedrine a person can buy.
A bill introduced in the 2014 legislative session, Senate Bill 6, would have required a prescription for pseudoephedrine purchases. Lawmakers claim most forms of the drug, traditionally used by allergy sufferers, can be broken down and used to make meth. But the bill didn’t pass, thanks to the lobbying efforts of individuals and organizations who fought against the bill.
“This news shows that the right approach to the meth problem lies in advancing sound policy solutions that crack down on meth criminals while protecting law-abiding consumers’ access to medications of their choice without imposing higher health care costs and unnecessary time off work,” Lambert said.
She offered other solutions, including prohibiting meth offenders from purchasing pseudoephedrine-based medications and establishing a meth offender registry, similar to ones in Oklahoma, Kentucky and Alabama.
“We will continue to work with law enforcement and policymakers to strengthen our anti-meth laws to address the state’s meth problems without restricting law-abiding consumer access to medications that work for them,” Lambert said.
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Reps. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., and David McKinley, R-W.Va., have introduced legislation in the House to stop a proposed rule that could devastate West Virginia’s economy.
House Resolution 4813 seeks to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from going forward with a rule for new and existing power plants that could cause some plants in the state to close, and place a five year moratorium on similar rules.
“America needs to wake up to what these regulations mean for our economy and our future,” McKinley said. “That is why we are raising the alarm and continuing to fight this plan at every turn.”
The bill has 68 bipartisan cosponsors, including Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.
“President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency fails to grasp or acknowledge what coal means for West Virginia,” Capito said. “Coal powers West Virginia’s economy and provides paychecks to tens of thousands of West Virginia families. Congress has said no repeatedly to a national energy tax, yet the EPA continues to propose rules that would raise energy prices while killing American jobs. It’s time for the House to set this administration straight yet again and say no to policies that hurt West Virginia families.”
Rahall said he’s worked hard over his decades in Congress on behalf of coal miners and their families.
“So when someone picks a fight with our coal miners, I put on the gloves,” he said. “This may be one whale of a fight, but I am not slugging it out alone. Miners and their families, coal community residents and businesses and families in West Virginia and throughout our country who rely on affordable energy have joined the fight and are making their voices heard.”
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Alex Mooney, the Republican candidate for U.S. House in the state’s second congressional district, has been promoted to Young Gun status by the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Mooney was first named to the program earlier this year. Candidates who reach Young Gun status “have met a series of rigorous goals that will put them in position to win on Election Day,” NRCC Chairman Greg Walden said.
“Our job as a committee is to help elect Republicans to office that will serve as a check and balance on the Obama administration,” Walden said.
Mooney will face Democrat Nick Casey in November’s election. He said the support of the NRCC and constituents has helped clear a path to victory in that election.
“Thanks to the support and hard work of our volunteers across the district, we have a clear path to victory in November,” he said. “West Virginians are sick and tired of President Obama’s job-killing policies and runaway deficits. I promise to stand up to President Obama and protect our West Virginian values, fight to repeal Obamacare, defeat the war on coal and protect our jobs.”
State Sen. Evan Jenkins, a Republican running in the state’s third congressional district, also is part of the Young Guns program.
COMPILED BY WHITNEY BURDETTE