Though some are calling an anti-meth bill signed by the governor last week more symbolic than potentially effective, state legislators deserve praise for addressing the scourge of Nevada with bi-partisan legislation.
Assembly Bill 148, which was signed by Gov. Gibbons last week, limits the sales of some cold and allergy medicines used in the manufacture of methamphetamine to pharmacies and removes them from convenience store shelves. Consumers will have to sign their names to a log and show ID when purchasing medications that contain pseudoephedrine. The bill also allows for criminal penalties against anyone selling lithium and sodium metals used in making meth, according to Associated Press reports.
While the restrictions may limit shopping options for consumers dealing with head congestion or a runny nose, it's well worth the knowledge that cold and allergy medicine sold by local merchants won't be used to produce meth. The bill's passing also signifies a broader statement by state government that fighting Nevada's meth problem will take ground-level activity and policy change such as restricting access to certain substances.
However, the bill was long overdue. According to statistics provided by the Nevada Investigations Division to the Nevada Appeal, just three meth labs were busted last year, a decrease from 15 two years ago and far fewer than in preceding years. Regional law enforcement members attribute the drop to increased production of methamphetamine from "super labs" in Mexico, where much of the U.S. meth supply is produced. Sixteen other states have already enacted bills similar to AB 148.
There's no one-shot solution to ending Nevada's complex meth problem. Until the day meth disappears from our state, if it ever does, every effort to fight its use - from legislation to law enforcement to community forums to education in our schools - should be supported ... regardless of the perceived effectiveness.
• This editorial appeared in the Lahontan Valley News