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Gazette staff February 29th, 2012

Speaking of drugs, it looks like the state Legislature won’t be making your decongestant of choice prescription-only anytime soon. A state House panel last week rejected a measure to require a prescription for pseudoephedrine, despite the law enforcement community rallying in support of the bill.

The vote in the House Public Health Committee prompted a war of words between Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris and a trio of Tulsa-area Republican legislators who opposed the bill. Harris railed that Reps. David Derby, Ron Peters and Mike Ritze “betrayed their constituents.”

Derby shot back that “it’s time the DA did his job and actually prosecuted meth offenders instead of plea bargaining with them. It’s time he actually sent meth cooks to prison instead of devoting his energy to harassing lawabiding citizens with allergies.”

Sounds to us like both sides could perhaps use a prescription for Valium.

As an alternative, some lawmakers want Oklahoma to join a national registry in which drug agents could check whether pharmacy customers are also purchasing large quantities of pseudoephedrine products across state lines.

Proponents say the move would make things tough for meth manufacturers — and really make things tough for meth manufacturers with hay fever.

The day after the committee vote, an Associated Press report ranked Oklahoma fifth among U.S. states in the number of meth lab busts.

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