Debating my position to the bill sponsor, Rep. Dave Schatz (R), Sullivan, sitting left.
HB 685: Reclassifies all methamphetamine precursor drugs from Schedule IV and V controlled substances to Schedule III requiring a prescription and references the provisions as the Meth Lab Elimination Act

Today the house voted to reclassify certain drugs as schedule IV and V controlled substances. The drugs at issue contained pseudoephedrine and are used in the manufacturing of the highly addictive and dangerous drug crystal meth. Currently Missouri’s meth production puts our state as one of the worst in the nation. The idea is that if meth dealers have to have a prescription to buy the pseudoephedrine based drugs then the amount of meth labs will decrease. I voted NO on this bill. Once again I had to ask: “What is the proper role of government?”

I believe that the Founders were right when they said that the proper role of government is to protect our rights and although I would never condone the use of illegal substances, I do not believe that government should involve itself in the habits of its' citizens. As it stands, you can buy cold and flu drugs over the counter at your convenience but if this bill were to pass, you would have to first get a prescription from a doctor. One ther question I feel is important to ask when considering legislation is, "Does this bill give people more freedom or less freedom?" 

Already there are many people who do not have medical insurance and having to fight through the red tape it often takes to get a prescription written and filled could make a $10 box of tablets cost as much as $50, $100 or even higher. This bill would punish the law abiding citizens who just want to buy cold and flu medicine for themselves and their families all for the crimes of the few and that is bad government policy. I heard one person say that if taking the freedom away from the people to freely buy medicine would possibly curb the meth production in Missouri, then we should gladly tolerate the inconvenience. When I heard this I thought of the wise words of Benjamin Franklin when he said, “People willing to trade their freedom for security deserve neither and will lose both.”

We have freedom and with that freedom and we should have security in our freedom and it would be a moral transgression if government were to deprive the people of a freedom based on the crimes of a few. There are laws against meth production, possession and use and the best thing our state can do is to help our police and sheriff departments in the fulfilling the execution of those laws. HB 658 failed to be perfected and printed by only 2 votes. The bill is dead but no doubt will return next session.


Tom Heitzmann
5/4/2011 07:42:51 am

Thanks for voting no on this bill. After staying neutral while considering the issue, I now believe as you do that this is not a proper use of law. Ephedrine which used to cost about $3 a box would be about $125 figuring in the doctor visit.

Martha Crawford
5/19/2011 08:59:11 am

I disagree with your vote on this. Using your reasoning why should any drug require a prescription; an example being morphine, heroine, etc. Pseudoephedrine is being used in a highly adictive drug and is being illegally marketed to our children. It is so great a problem that the police are not able to enforce the law because of the magnitude of this problem. This should not be a money issue!

5/20/2011 02:15:59 am

Well, Martha, heroin isn't used in common cold medications that you can buy at the drugstore. To my knowledge, people don't buy morphine at CVS and keep some on hand in their medicine cabinets incase they come down with a cold. The point I am trying to make is that cooking meth is already illegal and it will still be illegal after you are required to get a prescription for your cold medicine. If you really think it is the place of government to regulate personal responsibility for everyone because of the few (respectively speaking) who misuse a product, then OK. I don't know where you stand on gun control but this is the same principle that Washington uses to deprive us of our right to bear arms. Some people do use guns to commit horrific acts of murder, so the government wants to regulate all of us.
I think the best policy is to not use the role of government to abdicate personal responsibility ESPECIALLY when we are talking about common medications for the common cold. The bad guys always find a way. They are breaking the law now and they will continue to do so.

6/4/2012 01:51:52 am

Paul, your vote was right on here. You cannot stop people from harming themselves. Lets suppose this law is perfectly effective (it wouldn't be very effective), and meth production in Missouri goes to zero.

What then? Do you actually think crystal meth users are going to stop using harmful substances? You don't think they'll go smoke silva they can easily grow themselves, or huff on cans of compressed air, or sniff gasoline, use cocaine or heroin?

Of course they will. This bill would help nothing and would harm allergy and cold sufferers across our state.

Also consider this quote by Milton Friedman. Really think about it and you'll see why the government getting involved in an awful idea:

“It is because it's prohibited. See, if you look at the drug war from a purely economic point of view, the role of the government is to protect the drug cartel. That's literally true.”
― Milton Friedman


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