Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Letters to the Editor

July 2, 2014

READER POINT OF VIEW: Battle against meth will continue

Methamphetamine is a drug epidemic spreading throughout the Midwest at an alarming rate. In 2013, Indiana led the nation in meth lab seizures with a total of 1,797 busts.

Meth production is changing. Today, a typical Indiana meth lab is not a lab at all. The majority of meth is being made in the kitchen of small homes, producing about a gram of meth using plastic, two-liter bottles. While the number of lab seizures may be high, the amount of meth being domestically produced and sold on the streets has lowered.

There are a number of measures being taken to combat the ever-changing world of meth production and prevent this problem from growing larger.

Pseudoephedrine is found in many popular over-the-counter decongestant medicines, but it is also the key ingredient of methamphetamine. In the past, I authored legislation that brought the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx) to Indiana, which tracks meth criminals by blocking unlawful pseudoephedrine purchases at the counter.

The NPLEx system has proven to be a very effective tool for law enforcement officials. Last year, 60,000 boxes of pseudoephedrine were blocked from being sold illegally, which resulted in almost 132,000 grams of pseudoephedrine off the streets. All drug and convenience stores in Indiana are required to use NPLEx to track pseudoephedrine sales.

The legislation also limits the amount of pseudoephedrine on individual purchases within a certain time frame, and makes “smurfing,” or buying pseudoephedrine on behalf of a meth cook, a class C felony. Anyone previously convicted of a meth-related crime that possesses ephedrine without a prescription for up to seven years after their conviction will be subject to a class D felony.

Law enforcement is now able to better track pseudoephedrine purchases while maintaining the drug’s over-the-counter status, so there is no burden on law-abiding Hoosiers who rely on pseudoephedrine-based medicine when they are sick.

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Poll

Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
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