CHPA President Suydam Advocates Comprehensive Meth Solution

Testifies before a House Government Reform Subcommittee today

Washington, D.C. (November 18, 2004)—Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) President Linda A. Suydam, D.P.A., testified today before the U.S. House of Representatives Government Reform Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources at a hearing entitled “Law Enforcement and the Fight Against Methamphetamine.”

The hearing explored the federal role to address the methamphetamine problem in this country, and officials from ONDCP, DOJ, and the DEA were on hand to provide the Administration’s perspective. A second panel followed, which included a broader perspective of the methamphetamine problem, with representatives from the retail community, industry, and law enforcement.

While pseudoephedrine is a nonprescription nasal decongestant used safely and effectively by millions of consumers each year to treat symptoms of colds, allergies, and the flu, Suydam noted the industry’s deep concern that the ingredient can be illegally diverted and used with other products to manufacture the illicit drug methamphetamine.  Suydam advocated “tough, comprehensive measures to attack this problem at every level of its manufacture and use.”

Specifically, Suydam encouraged:

  • Limiting the number of packages of medicines with pseudoephedrine a consumer can purchase at a time;
  • Requiring registration of all retailers selling pseudoephedrine products;
  • Enacting severe penalties for those manufacturing and selling meth, especially those endangering children with illicit activities;
  • Strengthening law enforcement resources and providing them with the tools to take action against the major traffickers who fuel the meth supply and the meth cooks who threaten the safety of communities; and
  • Developing more programs focusing on prevention and education, like Meth Watch. Meth Watch is a national program developed by CHPA and modeled after a successful local initiative started in Kansas. Meth Watch helps curtail the suspicious sale and theft of   common household products used in the illicit manufacturing of methamphetamine, most notably pseudoephedrine-containing cough/cold medicines.

Suydam also addressed the approach of putting over-the-counter pseudoephedrine-containing medicines on Schedule V, which requires such medications to be sold only in pharmacies, placed behind pharmacy counters, and sold only by pharmacists or pharmacy technicians. Oklahoma passed such legislation earlier this year.  She cautioned subcommittee members that “there is no ‘quick fix’ to this complex problem. We must take comprehensive steps that work, not half-measures that have a greater impact on sick kids, care givers, and flu sufferers than on criminals.”

Contacts: Elizabeth Assey and Virginia Cox, 202.429.9260

CHPA is the 123-year-old trade association representing U.S. manufacturers and distributors of over-the-counter medicines and nutritional supplement products.