Bill would help law enforcement target meth labs

ALBANY, N.Y. – A bill that would help local police and district attorneys track over-the-counter medicines used in making meth has passed the New York State Senate.

Lawmakers in the senate voted unanimously Wednesday to approve the legislation, which now heads to the state assembly.

The bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Tom O'Mara, who has pushed a number of measures designed to target meth and heroin use in upstate New York (O'Mara, a Republican, represents New York's 58th Senate District, which includes Chemung county and a portion of Tompkins County).

The regulations would limit the sale of cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine–a main ingredient used to make meth–to behind the counter, and limit the amount of pseudoephedrine that a person can purchase each month.

Those who purchase such products would also be required to present a photo ID and sign a written logbook that would be open to inspection by law enforcement.

A federal law passed in 2005 enacted similar restrictions, but O'Mara said without complimentary state legislation, local law enforcement and prosecutors are limited in their ability to pursue violations of purchase limits.

“This legislation is an important part of what must be a broader and ongoing effort to deter, prosecute and punish meth crimes, as well as raise public awareness of the danger," O'Mara said.  “We need to send a strong message that we’re not going to tolerate the operation of meth labs."

Last month, the senate passed legislation sponsored by O'Mara that would include harsher criminal penalties for possessing or selling meth.

The bill is currently in the state Assembly Codes Committee.

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