I am concerned about some provisions of a bill currently being considered by the Board of Aldermen. BB 304 would restrict the sale of some useful cold medicines without a doctor's prescription. The Missouri towns of Gerald, Poplar Bluff, Union, and Washington have already passed such ordinances. So has the state of Mississippi. Meth is not a big problem in the City of St. Louis, but the bill's sponsor argues that other drug addicts use over-the-counter cold medicine as currency to buy illegal drugs here.
A clause of the St. Louis bill would require the Board of Aldermen to weigh the inconvenience the new ordinance will cause against the possibility that pseudoephedrine products might be used in the illegal production of methamphetamine. To that stated requirement, I would add another: I believe that aldermen should also weigh the fact that a significant number of their constituents do not have readily affordable access to physicians. Should being poor, uninsured, and having a bad cold be the occasion for violating a City ordinance?
The production and sale of meth is already illegal. And Federal law already prohibits the sale of products containing pseudoephedrine except from locked cabinets and behind the counter, limits the monthly amount an individual can purchase, requires photo IDs, and makes retailers keep records of purchasers.
I think this well-intentioned bill needs more thought. I hope the Board pauses to see if the problem warrants the solution. Before drawing any final conclusions myself, I would like to hear from Chief Dan Isom and his narcotics officers.