published Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Manchester tables meth precursor ordinance

Customers at pharmacies in Manchester, Tenn., won't need to worry — at least for a while — about having a prescription to buy over-the-counter cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient in the illicit drug methamphetamine.

After concerns were raised about whether city government has the power to regulate prescription drugs, the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted 4-2 Tuesday night to table the ordinance.

"They really don't have the legal authority to make that kind of regulation," said Ray Macrom, a lifelong Manchester resident who's the owner and pharmacist at Macrom's Pharmacy at 1277 McArthur St.

If the city passed the ordinance, it could open itself to lawsuits, Macrom said, including from chain pharmacies.

"The larger thing is, 'Will this really help our meth problem?'" Macrom said. "I think there's other actions that we can take."

He's one of several area pharmacists who've been invited to a special Manchester City Council meeting to talk about cold medicine and methamphetamine issue. The meeting will be at 5 p.m. CDT on Tuesday in the upstairs board meeting room at City Hall at 200 W. Fort St.

Similar cold medicine ordinances are being considered in more than a dozen Tennessee towns, according to officials in Winchester, where the "Stop Meth Now" movement was spearheaded by that town's police chief.

"The city was following suit with some other cities that had drawn up an ordinance to regulate the drug," said Joy Ballard, executive administrative assistant to Mayor Lonnie Norman.

Targeted brands include Sudafed-Congestion, Advil Cold & Sinus, Tylenol Cold Severe Congestion and Mucinex-D.

Contact Tim Omarzu at tomarzu@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6651.

about Tim Omarzu...

Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.

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