By Jack Brammer and Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — The state Senate approved a revised version of a controversial anti-methamphetamine bill Friday that would decrease the amount of cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine that Kentuckians could purchased without a prescription.
On a vote of 25-11, the Senate sent Senate Bill 3 to the House.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said House members generally support what the bill is trying to accomplish but want to study its details.
The bill, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Robert Stivers, initially called for allowing Kentuckians to buy up to 3.6 grams of pseudoephedrine a month, or 15 grams a year. (A generic box of pseudoephedrine with 48 pills, each with a 30-milligram dosage, contains 1.44 grams of the medicine.)
The Senate, however, approved by voice vote an amendment by Sen. Jerry Rhoads, D-Madisonville, that would raise those limits to 7.2 grams a month and 24 grams a year.
Pseudoephedrine is a key ingredient in meth, which has been called a scourge on Kentucky.
Stivers, R-Manchester, said he preferred the lower limits but compromise was needed to pass the bill.
The bill bans people with drug-related convictions from purchasing pseudoephedrine.
The Senate defeated an amendment offered by Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville, that would prohibit only people with meth-related convictions from buying cold medicines for five years.
Under the bill, gel caps and liquid pseudoephedrine would be excluded from the limit because making meth from those forms of the medicine is more difficult.
Doctors would be allowed to prescribe up to 7.5 grams of pseudoephedrine a month.
The bill was an alternative to SB 50, a measure Stivers withdrew last week. It would have required a prescription for most cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine.
Makers of pseudoephedrine have fought the bill with a heavy advertising campaign, but the industry had no immediate comment on the proposal that has emerged from the Senate.
Filed Under: KY General Assembly