"Anti-Meth" Legislation May Curb Use
In the year after Oregon prohibited the sale of OTC decongestants containing pseudoephedrine, meth-related ER visits significantly decreased.
In July of 2006, Oregon became the first state to make drugs containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and phenylpropanolamine available by prescription only. Over the following year, the researchers collaborated with Emergency Department (ED) doctors to evaluate the new law's effectiveness in deterring meth use.
The study showed a 35% decrease in meth-related ED visits and a 29% decrease in patients reporting meth use. The number of meth-related ED visits dropped from an average of 18/week before the legislation to 11.3/week after.
Why Is This Important?
Methamphetamine is usually manufactured by using pseudoephedrine, found in OTC decongestants. While many pharmacies regulate the sale of OTC drugs containing pseudoephedrine, pharmacies in Oregon were the first to require an actual prescription for their purchase. This study suggests that Oregon's legislation has had a real impact on meth use.