Local Legislator Gets Tough With Meth Producers

This week two very significant bills to fight methamphetamine abuse were heard and passed in the State Legislature. One limits the visibility of meth's primary ingredient. The other increases the penalties for fires started at meth labs. Both are supported by Representative Roy Blake of Nacogdoches.

The front line knew five years ago the problem was getting worse instead of better. Now legislators are taking notice. Blake knows the statistics. "In the year 2000 there were 1,800 documented cases in treatment centers of abuse of this drug. In 2004 there were close to 11,000, so it has grown. It is a huge problem and the legislature and law enforcement have a responsibility to the people to correct the problem."

Blake is pleased the Senate passed a bill this week that limits the sale of meth's primary ingredient, pseudoephedrine products. The bill on its way to the house will allow the sale only in places with a pharmacy. Blake plans to vote for it, even it could run up the cost of your favorite cold medicine. "The pennies that it may cause to go up will far out weigh the thousands of dollars that we're spending and the human lives that are being wrecked because of the abuse of these drugs," said Blake. The bill limiting the sale of cold medicines will be on its way to the governor after compromises between the house and senate version are reached.

Then there's a bill passage that Blake joint authored. It holds meth producers accountable for fires started in meth labs. Under current law very little can be done. "All the evidence is burned up. The other is arson is a very hard crime to charge someone with. It's almost impossible to prove intent," explained Blake. If the senate approves, any meth cook whose lab backfires on them can face a third degree felony offense. That is if they survive the fire, which many do not. Blake's bill concerning meth fires is on its way to the Senate.