Prescription needed for cold meds

WARSAW, Ind. – Aisle 10 was already restocked on reorganized at Zale Drugs by Friday afternoon.

Medicines that contain straight pseudoephedrine have been put behind the counter, only to be sold as a prescription medication.

“I’m hoping that it works; we’re doing as much as we can,” Becky Shroyer said.

As the head pharmacist and owner, Shroyer decided to remove pseudoephedrine from Zale’s list of over the counter medications.

She made the decision after Joe Thallemer asked to her, this the Warsaw mayor-elect’s new plan to combat the city’s methamphetamine problem.

”I don’t know if being polite is a bad way to go,” Thallemer said all he could do was say please. “We really don’t have anything but to back us up other than just what’s happening in the community.”

Thallemer was elected three days ago and he doesn’t take office until 2012, but he got to work right away.

“I mentioned it Tuesday after the election and it just took traction and rightfully so,” Thallemer said.

Kosciusko County ranks 2nd in the state for meth busts, “Every day there is a meth bust,” Shroyer said.

The pharmacist said she gets a face to face look at the area’s meth problem almost every day. “They’re skinny, and you know their teeth,” Shroyer said of meth addicts, “You know, you can usually tell.”

That is not the kind of business Shroyer wants at her store, “Never know if the car next to you is going to have a meth lab in it and blow up, you know it’s pretty scary.”

To get rid of all meth manufacturers, Thallemer said he wants to choke the pseudoephedrine out of the city. “Pseudoephed is the only precursor that can be used to cook methamphetamine, there is no other precursor that can be used to make meth.”  

With a prescription required to buy medicines with pseudoephedrine, meth manufacturers and addicts would need to go through a doctor.

But so would anyone else who wanted to buy the drug, whether they are sick or not.

Shroyer said, other decongestants that contain different drugs are just as effective but cannot be used to make meth. Those medications are still in aisle ten and are still sold over the counter without prescription.

Thallemer, even when he takes office, does not have the power to completely ban the medication or require a prescription, all he can do is ask.

So far, he has approached several different pharmacies in the city, Zales and one other pharmacy have agreed, both are locally owned and operated.

Still, Warsaw has 13 other pharmacies that have yet to get on board, many are corporate stores.

“It’s a start to combating the meth problem here,” Kyle Phelps said as he walked out of the Walgreens on Center Street.

Pharmacists at Walgreens and CVS told ABC-57 they had no plans to make any changes in the near future.

“Local pharmacists themselves see the problem, understand the problem,” Thallemer said, “And they’re very sympathetic to the problem.”

Phelps and several others around town said they don’t think the big chain stores/pharmacies will require a prescription for pseudoephedrine.

“Everybody is trying to make money somehow,” Phelps said. “But the local pharmacies are less concerned about their money, and they’re also looking to benefit their community as well.”

If just one pharmacy does not require a prescription it could make the entire program ineffective.

“I think it has to be everyone or no one because if it’s not everyone, the problem is still going to be existing,” Phelps said.

Thallemer admitted meth addicts with do anything to score, and for this to work all of the Warsaw pharmacies need to participate.

Thallemer said he is still working with several pharmacies in the area to try and persuade them to stop selling pseudoephedrine without a prescription.

Until then, Shroyer said she is just happy she can do her part and keep her conscious clean. “It’s going to make us feel better that we’re doing our part and not contributing to the problem.”

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