Indiana considers tighter limits on cold medicines


Indiana already limits purchases of cold medications, but an Indiana Senate committee is backing tougher limits on quantities consumers may buy.

It's part of the state's crackdown on methamphetamine. Meth manufacturers sometimes try to obtain a key ingredient from cold medications. The state's tougher limits on cold medicines mean it's harder for would-be meth makers to buy the quantities they need.

The Senate's Criminal Law Committee voted 10-0 Tuesday in favor of the bill that would allow the purchase of up to 61 grams a year of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. That's about an eight-month total of the current law's monthly limit of 7.2 grams.

Some police groups have pushed for a state law requiring a doctor's prescription for those medicines, but the bill doesn't take that step.

Bill sponsor Republican Sen. Carlin Yoder of Middlebury says he believes people with allergies and occasional illnesses will still be able to buy enough medicine under the tighter limits.

The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

A law that took effect in January 2012 requires retailers selling ephedrine and pseudoephedrine to enter information about buyers and their purchases in the National Precursor Log Exchange. The system issues "stop-sale" alerts if buyers try to purchase more than the allowable limit within a 30-day period.

During the first six months of 2012, the database was used to block the sale of over 57,000 boxes of medicine containing pseudoephedrine, an ingredient in cold medicine used in the production of methamphetamine.

The Lutherville, Md.-based National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators says data released by the National Precursor Log Exchange shows the system may have kept more than 132,000 grams of pseudoephedrine from being diverted by meth cookers.

Indiana Methamphetamine Investigation System