Wellington Votors Reject Pseudoephedrine Ordinance

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

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Update: Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Wellington voters have rejected a proposed ordinance that would have banned the sale of over-the-counter medicines containing pseudoephedrine.

In a special election Tuesday, the issue was shot down by a vote of 652-229.

Cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine can be used to produce methamphetamine. In 2005, Kansas state lawmakers passed the Sheriff Matt Samuels Chemical Control Act which limits the sale of products that contain pseudoephedrine.

If passed, the ordinance would have required Wellington residents go to a doctor to get prescriptions for cold and allergy medications that contain pseudoephedrine.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Wellington residents will vote on Tuesday to determine if products containing pseudoephedrine will require a prescription.

The Kansas Legislature passed the Sheriff Matt Samuels Chemical Control Act in 2005 requiring people who want to purchase products that contain pseudoephedrine to be at least 18-years-old, present photo identification, be limited to no more than 3.6 grams in a single transaction and no more than 9 grams in a 30 day period.

But a Wellington physician says the system is not working. Dr. Larry Anderson claims that it leads to smurfing, where people buy the pseudoephedrine and sell it to meth producers.

"It just makes no sense, to me, for the people who legitimately need pseudoephedrine, for us to put up with the danger and the risk and the tragedy and the expense, of not making it prescription," said Dr. Anderson.

He is fighting to get pseudoephedrine legislation passed in Wellington and in Topeka. This spring, the city of Parsons unanimously approved the state's first pseudoephedrine prescription law.

"A yes vote will just snowball, domino, from county to county, to city to city, to Topeka and I think it'll get passed next year if we pass it," said Dr. Anderson.

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association, which represents manufacturers and distributors of nonprescription medicines, is sending flyers persuading residents to vote no. One of their arguments is the cost of going to a doctor to get a prescription for colds and allergies.

"Personally don't believe that it's going to be that difficult to get if it passes. It's not going to be any more difficult if it doesn't because we've already got the state law that addresses that," said John Cook, registered pharmacist.

Dr. Anderson said children are often injured by their forced association with methamphetamine. He cited a Wichita murder-suicide that involved 6-year-old, Reimy Rivera, who was shot and killed in her sleep, by a man intoxicated with methamphetamine.

"How many little children have to be injured or killed so that I have the freedom to buy pseudoephedrine?" asked Dr. Anderson.

Wellington residents will vote during the special election on Tuesday at the Raymond Frye Complex.

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