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Kentucky is considering whether to require prescriptions for cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient in methamphetamine. Manufacturers of cold medicines are urging legislators in the state to instead ban people who have been convicted of methamphetamine-related crimes from purchasing the drugs.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports Carlos Gutierrez of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association told Kentucky legislators that this tactic has been effective in other states.

While 20 states considered laws requiring a prescription for pseudoephedrine last year, none passed.

Dan Smoot of Operation UNITE, a drug task force in southeastern Kentucky, told the newspaper banning people who have been convicted of meth-related crimes from buying cold medicine would not be effective. He pointed out most meth makers pay people called “smurfers” to buy cold medicine. These people usually don’t have criminal records, he said.

Officials told legislators that the number of meth labs in Kentucky is growing. By the end of August, there were 809 meth-lab cases, a 20 percent increase from the same period last year.

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