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On Tuesday, June 18, Grundy County officials along with Grundy County citizens met at Altamont City Hall to discuss the very disastrous effects of methamphetamine on our county.
Tennessee Meth Task Force Director Tommy Farmer and Winchester Police Chief Dennis Young spoke to officials from Tracy City and Monteagle Police Departments and the Grundy Sheriff’s Office about an ordinance recently passed in Grundy County that would ban the main ingredient used in making methamphetamine in over the counter medication sales.
The ingredient called pseudo ephedrine is a chemical drug found in many cold and allergy mediations and is available over the counter at most pharmacies. These medications are being purchased and then sold to meth cooks across Grundy County for up to $120 a box.
It is estimated that over 75% of all pseudo ephedrine sold in Grundy County is sold to people associated with the process of methamphetamine manufacture, the second highest rate in the State of Tennessee.
The problem that this chemical drug poses to our community is staggering in its financial cost including the cost of cleaning up meth labs and the extremely high number of children placed in foster care as a result of methamphetamine labs in drug related homes. It costs approximately $2,500 to clean up a single meth lab and the Grundy County Sheriff’s Office reports 13 meth seizures so far this year. Our latest estimates from the Department of Children’s Services are that 27 children have been placed in foster care in Grundy County in 2012 due to drug exposure in the home. Families and homes are being destroyed at an alarming rate.
The proposed ordinances will limit the sales of medications containing pseudo ephedrine to a prescription only basis.
Tommy Farmer stated that, “Overall lab seizure incidents continue to trend up despite pharmaceutical industry provided NPLEx PSE block sale system. Statewide law enforcements have reported 915 lab seizure incidents, which amounts to approximately seven labs per day or 150 per month. Currently Grundy County has thirteen incidents of lab seizures reported compared to five in 2012, which amounts to a 150% increase.
Our position as to the proven sustainable solution as demonstrated by Oregon and Missouri is to return pseudo ephedrine back to the regulated substance it was prior to 1976 when the FDA released it. States and local communities will continue to deal with this national epidemic on a local level until then. This meth lab issue in the United States was created by our mistake, however it can be corrected to exterminate these labs. The Tennessee comptroller study along with the more recent National GAO report provide us with great information and a roadmap to ending this problem.”
The Grundy County Coalition is asking for your support of this proposed ordinance in each city in Grundy County. Let your city council members know of the importance of this ordinance, which has been drafted and submitted to each city council for approval.
The first city to approve the ordinance was Tracy City where they held the first reading of the ordinance on June 20. Our hope is that each city in Grundy County will pass this ordinance and join other counties and states like Oregon and Missouri in their fight across the nation to combat this epidemic.