It’s probably happened to you.
You’ve been feeling under the weather, so you decide to stop by a local pharmacy to pick up some cold medicine to help drag you out of the funk you’ve been stuck in for a few days.
You’re tired and sniffly, but you know an over-the-counter medicine like Sudafed will help chase those feelings away.
Of course, once you get to the pharmacy, you find that the spot where Sudafed normally would be is empty, and you have to speak to the pharmacist directly — and show your driver’s license — to buy the medicine your body needs to get well.
And don’t bother trying to stock up to prevent the same hassle in the future. West Virginia law limits the purchase of pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient found in Sudafed and other over-the-counter options used to treat the common cold.
Why? It’s one way lawmakers can fight rampant meth use in the state.
That’s because criminals often purchase common over-the-counter medications used to fight colds and allergies because those medicines contain pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient used to make meth.
It’s not the only way the state is cracking down on criminals getting their hands on the ingredient. At the beginning of the year, state pharmacies began using the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx), an electronic database that not only keeps records of customers purchasing medications containing pseudoephedrine, but makes that data available to other pharmacies and law enforcement agencies.
For years prior to Jan. 1, when the state began using NPLEx, pharmacies were required to keep records of customers purchasing medications containing pseudoephedrine. But the information was typically logged at the pharmacy and not shared with others. Plus, if law enforcement officers were investigating a suspect for meth manufacture, the officers had to visit individual pharmacies and compare records.
Now the process has been streamlined in what officials are calling “a valuable tool.”
They also say law-abiding consumers shouldn’t see any difference. Just like before, customers will have to present a driver’s license to purchase the medication. As long as no flags are raised, the purchase will go through like normal. But if a person has purchased more than the daily, monthly or annual limit on pseudoephedrine medications determined by state law — the monthly limit is 7.2 grams, which is basically two boxes of cold medicine — the system will forbid the transaction.
NPLEx is shared among 27 states across the country, including neighboring Kentucky and Virginia, and Pennsylvania and Ohio are considering mandating its use as well.
That’s good news, according to Bridget Lambert, president of the West Virginia Retailers Association.
“Once our borders are blocked, then it would be virtually impossible to go across state lines” to buy supplies for a meth lab, she said.
We’re encouraged by the positive results NPLEx is having in the two short months since it was implemented, and even though Marion County Sheriff Joe Carpenter has said the sheriff’s department hasn’t had a chance to use the system because there have been few meth-related arrests in the past few months, it’s reassuring to know the system is in place if local officers ever need it.
It’s just one more step in the community’s — and state’s — continued war on drugs.
It’s probably happened to you.
Coal industry can’t afford to give this administration and EPA more ammunition
Coal already has a bad name in Washington, D.C.
The whole industry got another black eye this week when Alpha Natural Resources Inc., one of the country’s largest coal producers, agreed to pay a $27.5 million fine and invest $200 million to reduce illegal water pollution in five states, including West Virginia.
Being observant, reporting suspicions can make difference for hurting children
If a child is hurting, we wouldn’t hesitate to help.
Or would we?
In a five-year span, 22,830 children were victims of some type of neglect or abuse in West Virginia. That’s an overwhelming number to think about.
Gee makes major impact and earns another term as WVU president
Let’s imagine that a graduate from West Virginia University in the early 1980s, when E. Gordon Gee was president, came back to get an extra degree now and couldn’t believe that E. Gordon Gee is “still” the president of WVU.
Effort to encourage purchase of goods produced in U.S. deserves support
The concept of encouraging the purchase of American-made products is certainly not new.
On the federal level, the Buy American Act was passed in 1933 by Congress and signed by President Herbert Hoover. It required the United States government to prefer U.S.-made products in its purchases.
‘Stop Meth, Not Meds’ backed by readers
In West Virginia, there is something referred to as “stop-sale technology” that prevents a person from going to more than one pharmacy to purchase over-the-counter medication that contains the active ingredient pseudoephedrine, a nasal decongestant.
It’s not an issue of stuffy noses that lawmakers were worried about when they created the system.
Even small steps play part in critical mission to reduce childhood obesity
Just two years ago, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, meaning they had excess body weight based on their height.
It’s a troubling statistic, and one that health officials have worked diligently to reverse.
Cutting-edge heart procedure at Mon General is saving lives
“I used to think I wouldn’t live to be 50. Well, I made it to 50 and then some,” Pearl Walls said.
Walls is likely alive today and able to tell her story to the Times West Virginian because of a cutting-edge procedure performed at Monongalia General Hospital — a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), which was only approved for use by the FDA in 2011.
Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ many works, magic words
You know his words.
You know them well.
Funds donated to United Way make community healthier, happier, safer place
A dollar you give to the United Way of Marion County could feed a hungry family.
That dollar could protect a woman and her children from an abuser.
Or the dollar could mean that a family receives credit counseling to lift them out of overwhelming debt.
It could fund Scouting programs, where boys and girls learn lifelong lessons.
Project Launchpad puts critical concept of diversifying state economy into play
The case for diversifying the state of West Virginia’s economy is past the point of debate.
While it is our hope that coal can continue to have a role in our nation’s power-generating matrix, we’ve learned our lesson about over-dependence on a single industry. Particularly being overly dependent on an industry that, in the eyes of federal regulators, is out of fashion.
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