Roane County leaders and residents want change to battle meth

Roane County leaders and residents want change to battle meth epidemic

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"I guarantee you that there is nobody in Harriman buying pseudoephedrine for meth," said mayor Chris Mason. "I guarantee you that there is nobody in Harriman buying pseudoephedrine for meth," said mayor Chris Mason.
"Because if you can go to Harriman and get turned down buying pseudoephedrine, what keeps you from going somewhere else?" asked Chief Deputy Tim Phillips. "Because if you can go to Harriman and get turned down buying pseudoephedrine, what keeps you from going somewhere else?" asked Chief Deputy Tim Phillips.

By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

KINGSTON (WATE) - People in Roane County want a change in state law to help battle the meth epidemic. In the coming year, the state legislature is expected to take up a proposal making drugs containing pseudoephedrine available by prescription only.

In Roane County, the city of Harriman has already passed its own prescription only ordinance, but a recent Attorney General's opinion found that such local rules would violate state law.

Regardless, Harriman Mayor Chris Mason says the city will continue to enforce the law. He adds to beat meth, every city in the county needs to follow suit.

With garbage bags of evidence and crews working in protective suits, a meth bust in Roane County is an all too familiar scene for residents.

"We ask ourselves quite a bit if somebody is making meth," said resident Jerry Robbins.

In the last year, the Roane County Sheriff's Office says they've encountered 34 meth labs, most being the "one pot" method.

"It seems to be on track with the normal years in past," said Chief Deputy Tim Phillips.

That number is not because more meth is being made, but because deputies are getting better at finding meth labs.

Harriman recently passed a city ordinance requiring a doctor's prescription for pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient for making meth. Is this method of tackling the issue working?

"I guarantee you that there is nobody in Harriman buying pseudoephedrine for meth," said mayor Chris Mason.

To make sure the county can sweep meth out completely, the sheriff's office would like to see other cities enforcing a similar rule.

"Because if you can go to Harriman and get turned down buying pseudoephedrine, what keeps you from going somewhere else?" asked Chief Deputy Phillips.

However, a county-wide ordinance may not be enough.

"We can't stop people from making meth. That's going to have to be done at a higher level," added Mason.

Some residents agree, as we get closer to 2014, there's hope Tennessee lawmakers will work on making cold medicine with pseudoephedrine prescription only, that way meth won't be cooking next door.

"If they couldn't get their hands on the stuff to make it, then they would probably control it more, the law could," added Robbins.

6 News spoke with State Senator Ken Yager over the phone who says he's expecting discussion to happen early this year on passing legislation for prescription only pseudoephedrine.

While not everyone believes it's fair in his district, Senator Yager says he would like to see more statistics and facts on how it's been successful in other states before making a decision.

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