Poplar Bluff enacts ordinance to battle meth problem

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KAIT) – The Poplar Bluff City Council earlier this week voted in favor of an ordinance regulating the sale of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. The vote, passed by a 6-1 margin, paves the way for law enforcement to make progress in the city's fight against methamphetamine production. A local pharmacist told Region 8 News Tuesday that he believes the ordinance will reduce overall crime, but recognized the costs some families may incur because of the bill.

"You can buy a box of 10 for about five bucks. You have to get a doctor's visit, but if you have a long standing relationship with your doctor and I've talked to doctors about this, and they said it'll be no problem. They'll just phone it in for them," said Odom. "If we know who this patient is, we've known them for a long time, know their problems, then that will not be an issue."

Odom said families who don't have a close relationship with a doctor may have to pay as much as $40 for a prescription and the product if they have a cold.

"This will prevent it as it did in Washington, Missouri. They had it drop 94 percent after they enacted that law, so I firmly believe this will make a difference," said Danny Whiteley, Poplar Bluff Police Chief.

Whiteley said this ordinance is one of the strongest tools police have to crack down on meth.

"Will meth continue to be manufactured? Yes, but we're doing what we can in this community to safeguard the children, the families, our police officers," said Loyd Matthews, Poplar Bluff Mayor.

Odom, who has been operating in Butler County for three years, said his pharmacy was broken into three months ago by "drug seekers." The East Side Discount Pharmacy, 400 E. Pine St, now has steel bars across the windows to thwart criminals.

"I think it's the right thing to do. I think the city has stepped up when other people will not. The city council has stepped up and did the right thing for it," said Odom.

Odom said the problem is partially due to the city's location in southeast Missouri.

"The majority of the pseudoephedrine sold, I believe, is for illegal use. You see carloads of people coming from out of the area, different license plates from Arkansas or Kentucky," said Odom. "If they wanted to go somewhere else, they would have to transfer the prescription or have a doctor write them another prescription for it."

"Pseudoephedrine is a good drug if it's used properly, but the problem being it's all being used illegally now for illegitimate purposes," said Odom. "You're going to have a few people that are going to be hurt by it, but if the public really knew how bad this problem was, I think they'd support it and that would be a price they would pay to prevent this stuff."

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