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Ordinance targets components of meth

Posted on Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 10:46 am

Pseudoepedrine tabletsWhen the Fayetteville Board of Mayor and Aldermen meets this week, it’ll be considering an ordinance aimed at trying to put a stop to the production of methamphetamine, commonly referred to as meth.

The ordinance, which would require residents to obtain a prescription for medicines containing pseudoephedrine, is expected to be considered during this week’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, set for Tuesday, July 9, at 5 p.m. at the Fayetteville Municipal Building. Pseudoephedrine-based medications include such products as Sudafed, Actifed, Advil Cold and Sinus, Zyrtec-D, and Claritin-D, but according to authorities, there well over 100 counter medications for cold and allergies that do not contain pseudoephedrine.

During Tuesday’s City Board work session, Richard Howell, the city’s new chief of police, and Murray Blackwelder, Lincoln County sheriff, appeared before the board, asking that the city follow other area municipalities, including those in neighboring Franklin County, in adopting the ordinance.

“This would not be scheduling pseudoephedrine as a drug, but it would make it a purchasing requirement that a person would have to have a prescription to acquire it,” said Howell. “This will help in our fight against meth.”

Already, one local pharmacy requires such products to be prescription based, he continued, noting that authorities here have seen a marked increase in Franklin Countians coming into Lincoln County to acquire the medicine, a key component in the production of meth.

“Last year, there were 100,000 more purchases of these medicines in Tennessee than there were the year before,” said Blackwelder, who reiterated Howell’s comments on the impact such a move would have in the meth production here. The sheriff went on to say he plans to also request that such an ordinance or resolution be adopted by the Lincoln County Commission.

The ordinance being considered creates a civil fine for pharmacies violating the law. Reviewing the proposed ordinance, city officials did agree on the need for one change, the allowance of prescriptions written by licensed doctors in Tennessee and Alabama – the ordinance as proposed had only made allowances for prescriptions written by doctors licensed in Tennessee.

In other discussion during Tuesday’s work session, board members considered diverting $220,000 in state and federal Surface and Transportation Program funds from improvements planned for William D. Jones Boulevard to the purchase of vehicles for use by the police department. It would be the intent of the board to replace the funds with moneys earmarked in the budget for the vehicles.

“It would basically be shifting funds for the time being,” said Mayor John Ed Underwood, explaining that the deadline to spend the STP funds is drawing near, and with easements still to be secured that would facilitate the William D. Jones Boulevard improvements, it would be wiser to use the funds for vehicles. Once easements are secured, then the funds would be re-allocated.

Officials also listened as Jimmy Pendergrass, a member of the Lincoln County Disaster Relief Team, requested that the city contribute $2,500 to an effort to acquire a skid-steer loader and grappling hooks that would assist in recovery efforts here as well as elsewhere.

“We’ve been blessed here in Lincoln County not to have been hit hard by a tornado like they were here recently in Oklahoma,” Pendergrass said, noting that the equipment is estimated to cost just over $45,000, “but it could easily be us and equipment such as this would be key in the removal of debris.”

A truck and trailer to transport the equipment, as well as housing and insurance, would be covered by volunteers as well as the William Cary Baptist Association, said Pendergrass.

Officials noted that just the cost to the city of the tornado two years ago out on the Huntsville Highway was approximately $80,000. The request was placed on the agenda for this week’s board meeting.