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3 years ago

STUDY: Making Alabama’s Sudafed Rx-only won’t cut down on Meth production

Flickr user frankieleon
Flickr user frankieleon

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Alabama has some of the toughest pseudoephedrine (PSE), known by brand name “Sudafed,” laws in the country aimed at cutting down on the ability of criminals manufacturing methamphetamine to get their hands on the vital component. A new study comparing the outcomes of states that require a prescription to obtain cold medicines containing PSE with those who don’t made a surprising discovery that could have significant policy implications.

According to the report from American Enterprise Institute research fellow and former House Ways and Means Committee chief economist and policy director Alex Brill, the states which have made obtaining a prescription a requirement for Sudafed and other PSE-containing cold medications has made healthcare costs increase, while doing little to stymie the supply of meth.

Thus far in the United States only two states have adopted prescription access only laws—Oregon and Mississippi—though similar laws have been introduced 110 times in 27 other states, including Alabama.

But should this type of law be expanded across the country, the report argues, significant burdens would be incurred by American consumers.

“Each year in the United States, 18 million families buy PSE-based products to combat colds and allergies,” the report explains. “These medicines are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for purchase and use without a doctor’s intervention. Prescription-only laws would make it more difficult for these people to access the medicines they need. In addition to significantly reducing legitimate utilization of PSE medicines, these laws place a substantial economic burden on individuals, federal and state governments, and private payers. The new doctor visits that a national prescription-only law would require would alone generate enormous costs. In the first year, these costs would total nearly $130 million…”

Currently, 90 percent of the methamphetamine in the country flows across our southern border, meaning stricter control of domestic PSEs can only affect around 10 percent of the drug’s presence.

Brill explains in his report that there are much more effective steps state and federal government entities can take to put the kibosh on meth, while still allowing sufferers of colds and allergies to buy medicine without necessarily going to the doctor first.

“To address foreign meth supply, state leaders should support federal efforts to increase drug interdiction at the U.S.-Mexico border through legislation like the Stop Drugs at the Border Act of 2015,” is the first recommendation.

Secondly, the study advises addressing demand for the drug through behavioral intervention and increased educational initiatives.

“Economics tells us—and experience has shown—that as long as demand remains high, supply will rise to meet it. Therefore, it is vital to pair efforts to reduce meth production and importation with a serious education campaign, particularly before abuse starts.”

Alabama rejected an effort to make PSEs prescription-only in 2010, opting instead to take advantage of an existing database system called the National Precursor Log Exchange, or NPLEx, which requires a scan of your photo ID. If an Alabamian buys more than the legally-allowed amount in a given 30 day period law enforcement is alerted.

And there is strong evidence that those measures have worked.

According to the Alabama Drug Abuse Task Force, meth lab seizures in Alabama dropped from 720 in 2010, to 154 in 2013, and the system blocked 26,354 attempted PSE purchases in the first quarter of 2010 alone.

The entire report can be read online here.


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29 mins ago

Alabama airman killed in WWII to be buried in Florida this week

An Alabama man who was killed during World War II is being buried in Florida after his remains were identified decades following his death.

The Pentagon says a funeral is scheduled for Thursday in Pensacola for Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Percy C. Mathews of Andalusia.

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Mathew was 25 and serving on a B-17 bomber when it was struck by enemy fire while attacking a German submarine base in France on May 29, 1943. Mathews went down with the aircraft.

A statement from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency says a set of unidentified remains were determined to be those of Mathews thanks to genetic testing and the work of a French researcher, Daniel Dahiot.

Mathews was a member of the 422nd Bombardment Squadron, 305th Bombardment Group, 8th U.S. Air Force.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 hour ago

Ex-NFL, Alabama player Keith McCants arrested on drug charge

A former defensive end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the University of Alabama has been arrested on drug charges in Florida.

Pinellas County Jail records show 50-year-old Keith McCants was arrested early Monday near St. Petersburg.

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He’s charged with a felony count of possession of crack cocaine and driving with a revoked or suspended license.

He bonded out of jail, but records don’t list a lawyer.

Jail records show multiple arrests since 2010. His most recent arrest was in January, for driving with a suspended license.

Court records show he faces a July 10 court date.

McCants made the All-America Team at Alabama and was selected fourth overall by the Buccaneers in the 1990 NFL Draft.

His career ended in 1995. He also played for the Oilers and Cardinals.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 hours ago

Former news production building in Birmingham sells for $1.5 million

The former Birmingham News production building has been sold for $1.5 million.

Al.com reports the buyer is looking to transform the 97,000-square-foot building into a self-storage facility.

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The Birmingham Design Review Committee approved the concept in February.

“As a Birmingham native we are excited to be a part of the continued revitalization of downtown Birmingham.

We look forward to providing first class service in this self-storage project for the business community and the growing residential population in the city center,” Brent Fields, one of the owners of News Properties LCC, said in a statement.

The former news production building was built in 1982 on 1.60 acres.

Alabama Media Group moved the printing of the Birmingham News to Atlanta last year.

Eddie Greenhalgh, first vice president of investments, for Marcus & Millichap’s Birmingham office, says the conversion of the building to self-storage represents a wider revitalization of Birmingham’s downtown area.

Birchfield Penuel & Associates is the architect.

Christy Roddy and William Ledbetter of Cushman & Wakefield-EGS Commercial Real Estate represented the seller, Advance Local Media, the parent company of Alabama Media Group. Greenhalgh also represented the seller.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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Bill ‘Bubba’ Bussey receives heart stent, shares special moment with nurse

Bill “Bubba” Bussey, beloved radio co-host of the Birmingham-based and wildly popular “Rick and Bubba Show,” said his Friday morning procedure went well and was all smiles in an Instagram photo he shared after a successful heart stent placement.

“We are out! All good, now just a lot of recover time and being very very still. Your prayers have been heard and felt!!!” he wrote on Instagram.

Bussey is in his early fifties and was on his feet Friday, writing on Instagram that “Bubba seems to be feeling better,” sharing a playful moment with an “unnamed nurse” he helped with her “volley.”

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Early this morning, Bussey said in an Instagram post with the St. Vincent’s East location stamp that he shared a special moment with a retiring nurse:

“So many people to thank for the great care I got this weekend… but this lady ‘Miss Sandra’ was retiring after 30 plus years of nursing. I was her last patient, of her last shift!! She checked my pulse on the way out the door! Happy retirement Sandra! Thanks for letting me be a part of this special moment.”

From all of us at Yellowhammer News, get well soon, Bubba!

3 hours ago

Alabama college ending aquaculture program after 27 years

An Alabama college is citing declining enrollment for a decision to ends its aquaculture program after 27 years.

Gadsden State Community College says it will discontinue the courses next spring.

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School spokeswoman Jackie Edmondson tells The Gadsden Times the program was one of the few of its kind in the nation.

The program teaches students to care for aquatic life in natural and captive environments.

Enrollees work with fresh- and saltwater fish and plants in tanks and ponds.

But the program can’t support itself any longer because enrollment is down.

Statistics show 27 students have completed the program in the last five years, or slightly more than five per year.

The teacher, Hugh Hammer, says only one of the last 10 graduates is employed in the area.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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