Stiffer meth laws make good sense

Mar. 05, 2013 @ 05:23 PM

State Rep. D. Craig Horn, R-68, has proposed some common sense improvements to state laws that attempt to control the manufacture and sale of a very dangerous drug: methamphetamine.

The state has taken firm steps in the past to interdict the production of the drug by implementation of strict record keeping on the sale of cold medications containing pseudoephedrine, a chemical required to make methamphetamine.

Despite those efforts this insidious drug has continued to ensnare more and more people looking for a cheap and easy high. Meth lab busts were nearly a weekly occurrence in the county last year. At least two county businessmen have thrown away their livelihoods and their lives in pursuit of methamphetamine.

In those two cases, both continued to “cook” meth even after they had been arrested once for manufacturing the drug.

Moreover, meth cooks are as ingenious as they are addicted. They concocted a new method of fabricating the drug that is simpler and easier but is no less dangerous. So now meth labs are turning up in all sorts of places, even motel rooms.

Manufacture of the drug causes chemical contamination of all that is near it, and it threatens the health and safety of those public servants who have to clean up after meth cooks are arrested.

Horn’s bill would increase the risk for meth cooks by making it a crime for anyone with a prior conviction to even possess precursor chemicals like cold medications containing pseudoephedrine.

It also would stiffen penalties if children or the elderly are exposed to meth labs or their contamination. And if public servants investigating or cleaning up meth labs are injured in the course of their duties, a convicted meth cook would face an additional two years in prison.

These steps won’t end the scourge, but they will help get and keep meth cooks off the streets. And that is a step in the right direction.