Supporters of a system the state uses to curb the manufacturing of methamphetamine held a demonstration Tuesday in Jefferson City.
Missouri is one of 33 states to have passed legislation to join NPLEx, a real-time system that tracks sales of pseudoephedrine.
Purchasers, who have to provide identification to buy the medication, are blocked from further access once they’ve reached the legal threshold.
In 2006, the federal government limited the threshold of pseudoephedrine -containing products a person can purchase to 3.6 g per day and 9 g per month, with each product package not to exceed 3 g.
Jim Gwinner with the Consumer Healthcare Products Association says the NPLEx system has had a profound impact on the production of meth since it was introduced in Missouri.
“We’ve seen in 2011 north of 2,000 meth labs in the state of Missouri at the same time the NPLEx system went live” said Gwinner. “And in 2015, there were 314 meth labs in the state of Missouri. So we’ve seen a significant decrease in meth labs.”
Gwinner says the overwhelming majority of meth in the United States now comes from Mexico because of the wide use of NPLEx.
Tuesday’s demonstration at a drug store in Jefferson City was meant to show state lawmakers how effective the system is. Most of them weren’t in office when legislation was passed to implement the program in 2009.
With a number of proposals to establish a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) moving through the state legislature, one lawmaker wants to scrap that plan in favor of expanding the NPLEx system instead.
House Republican Jason Chipman of Steelville thinks the same results a PDMP achieves can be matched by NPLEx, which is paid for by the drug manufacturers.
“Because of how bad the meth problem was, they basically told the pharmaceutical companies ‘If you want to sell this in our state, you’re going to have to pay for this system to monitor it’” said Chipman. “We see all these opioid overdose deaths all over the place. It’s become such an epidemic, I don’t see the reason why we couldn’t ask pharmaceutical companies to do the same thing. And it shouldn’t cost the state anything for pharmaceutical companies to push narcotics.”
Research has linked prescription drug monitoring programs to a reduction in opioid-related deaths. The 49 other states currently have PDMP’s in place.
Although he has similar privacy concerns about PDMP’s to fellow GOP member Rob Schaaf, Chipman hasn’t endorsed Schaaf’s pitch in the state senate for a less invasive version of the program.
Chipman is willing to compromise on privacy as long as drug manufacturers are covering the NPLEx system’s cost.
“If we’re going to do it. If we’re going to go down that path, this is the path that I’d like to see them go down. Use a system that we already have in place. Have the pharmaceutical companies pay for it if they’re going to push narcotics.”
The existing En-Plex system helped block the sale of over 37,000 boxes of pseudoephedrine during 2016 in Missouri.