Disloyal Subjects

February 12, 2014

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By:  Rob Jones

“In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”

- Thomas Jefferson: Draft, Kentucky Res., 1798.

”He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security.”

- Ben Franklin

I opened my column with these quotes, as the levels of encroachment, from our government, never cease to amaze me. It seems that all levels of government have become too comfortable in taking our rights and limiting our freedoms. Local, state, and federal governments are constantly overstepping their powers. Our forefathers put restraints into the United States Constitution, on government powers and the rights and freedoms of the people. Those rights and freedoms are explicit. They aren’t followed with “unless”, “or”, or “if”.

I bring up rights and freedoms because of a State Senate Health and Human Resources Committee Bill, SB6. Senate Bill 6 says that any medication containing pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in methamphetamine, would require West Virginians to get a prescription, before they can buy a cold or allergy medication. We’re talking medications, such as Sudafed and Claritin-D, which contain the nasal decongestant.

Senator Greg Tucker, D-Nicholas said, “My area of the state is probably impacted more than any by this plague. Tuesday’s vote sends a message to other legislators that this is an important step to curb the meth lab problem. It’s going to be a long battle.” Sen. Ron Stollings, D-Boone, and head of the Senate Health Committee said, “I think we can cut down on meth labs and still have access to the medicine when law-abiding citizens need it.”  Sen. Art Kirkendoll, D-Logan said, “The meth problem is just astronomical in cost. We have to do something.”

Let me tell you, friends, these elected “people” know not what they speak of. In fact, they are all ignorant and are confusing “doing something” with “taking rights and freedoms”. Requiring Mountaineers to visit a doctor or a clinic to get a prescription for these medicines will not stop the meth problem. What it will do, is force hard working, lower income families to pay co-pays, gasoline, and lost wages, in order to get a prescription for Claritin-D.  This is just a start of things to expect, under this type of law. One other problem is the NPLEx, which is a pseudoephedrine tracking system. Right now, law enforcement officers have access to that pseudoephedrine tracking system. Under this proposed “prescription” law, law enforcement would no longer have any tracking ability, as the pseudoephedrine would require a prescription and no longer fall under the NPLEx system.

WV State law makers have introduced legislation requiring a prescription for pseudoephedrine, twice before. Once in 2011 and again in 2012. Both of those attempts were defeated after citizens, drug industry, and retail store reps lobbied against those proposals. In West Virginia, pharmacies now keep pseudoephedrine products behind the counter and customers must show a photo ID to purchase those drugs. After Tuesday’s vote, a drug industry lobbying group issued a statement saying the bill “creates a host of unintended consequences. It will create a costly hardship on law-abiding citizens in the form of time off of work, additional trips to the doctor, and higher co-pays at the pharmacy. Prescriptions for medication have proven to provide little to no deterrence of abuse or diversion.” Not to mention, that even though this might be West Virginia state law, not all insurance companies are expected to even cover these medications!! 

Senate Bill 6 also exempts pseudoephedrine products “that some claim can’t be diverted to meth.” The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has stated that to date, no such products exist in the market place. It would be unfair to the thousands of West Virginians who rely on their preferred brand of nonprescription cold and allergy medicines to be made to consume a product as chosen by the State of West Virginia law makers,” said Elizabeth Funderburk, a spokeswoman for the Consumer Health Care Products Association, a Washington D.C. based group that lobbies for drug manufacturers.  

In my humble opinion, SB6 and other bills like it, only hurt law-abiding citizens and do very little to stop the criminal activity. I’ve been a police officer for fifteen years. I use the NPLEx system in investigations (the NPLEx is a great working system) and I also see the failures of these laws, firsthand. Law makers don’t stop to think about how these laws will hurt law-abiding citizens, nor do they actually pay any attention to how other, similar laws, have impacted the targeted crime or crimes. Instead, they say, “Well, we gotta do something and we gotta do something now. Consequences be damned!”

I’m going to urge all of you to think about the unneeded, unwarranted, and unwanted extra costs and hardships that Senate Bill 6 will put on you, your friends, and your families. If you feel that SB6 is wrong, please call 304-347-4836 and give them your address, to be connected to your state legislators’ office. Once connected, tell them that you’re a concerned voter and you do not want them supporting any bill, such as SB6. Without our help, West Virginians will once again be harmed by inappropriate laws, targeting the wrong people. Let’s make our law makers hold criminals responsible and not law-abiding citizens. God Bless You! God Bless West Virginia! God Bless America!

 

 

 


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