Mississippi legislators seek to reverse-switch PSE products

JACKSON, Miss. Four Mississippi legislators earlier this month added the Magnolia State as one of those states actively seeking to reverse-switch pseudoephedrine products from its current status as behind-the-pharmacy-counter to prescription-only in an effort to curb methamphetamine production.

The measures were introduced Jan. 11 by Reps. Ed Blackmon, Jr., D-Madison and Stephen Holland, D-Lee, as well as Sens. Sidney Albritton, R-District 40, and Billy Hewes, R-Harrison.

According to published reports, Marshall Fisher, director of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and proponent of the legislation, noted that last year marked the first time arrests for methamphetamine possession outnumbered those for crack or cocaine by a ratio of 3-to-2.

The measures were introduced despite an offer made late last year by member companies of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association to fund an electronic logging system that could track PSE purchases across states. In November, the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators unveiled the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx), a multi-state electronic tracking program that enforces purchase limitations of the decongestant pseudoephedrine in real-time at the point of sale. The new NPLEx system has been adopted by Kentucky, Illinois and Louisiana.

“If states are wanting to make [PSE] a prescription drug, we are coming in and saying, ‘Here is a tool [being offered to] law enforcement at no cost,’” commented Charlie Cichon NADDI director, at the time of the announcement last fall.

In addition to Mississippi, California and several local jurisdictions are either considering or have passed legislation requiring a prescription for the common decongestant.