McLEAN, VA, FEBRUARY 13, 2013 – Meth addiction is a worldwide epidemic of unimaginable proportions, with an estimated 15,000 deaths in the United States alone last year. States with prescription-only pseudoephedrine laws show a decrease in meth labs, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released today.
Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA) supports legislation to return pseudoephedrine (PSE) medications to the prescription-only status they held prior to 1976. PSE, a sinus decongestant, is not included as an appropriate asthma medication in the National Institutes of Health Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma.
“Pseudoephedrine hydrochloride, which is the key ingredient for the manufacturing of methamphetamines, does not serve a significant role in the care of patients who suffer from allergic or non-allergic rhinitis,” says Stuart W. Stoloff, MD, FAAAAI, FAAFP, clinical professor of family and community medicine, University of Nevada School of Medicine. “Other medications including saline offer a safer option when treating nasal congestion whether it be associated with the common cold, allergic, or non-allergic rhinitis. Given the enhanced safety profile of these other medications, there is no role for pseudoephedrine hydrochloride to be readily available to patients as a ‘behind the counter’ medication that does not require a prescription written by a qualified medical practitioner.”
In 28 years, AANMA has never heard from asthma and allergy patients who rely on non-prescription oral decongestants for their condition.
The most recent data from law enforcement indicates that diversion of legally produced PSE to methamphetamine production in small, toxic “one-pot” labs continues to rise everywhere except in the two states (Oregon in 2006, Mississippi in 2010) where a prescription is now required. Thus, it seems almost ludicrous not to take advantage of an easy solution to the meth lab problem that requires only the stroke of a pen for implementation.
Preventing the diversion of PSE to the manufacture of methamphetamine is far more urgent and vital to the public interest than continued availability of any particular remedy for the common cold.
Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA) is the leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending needless death and suffering due to asthma, allergies and related conditions. AANMA specializes in sharing family-friendly, medically accurate information through its award-winning publications Allergy & Asthma Today magazine and The MA Report newsletter, its web site at www.aanma.org and numerous community outreach programs. Follow AANMA on Facebook at facebook.com/AANMA and on Twitter at twitter.com/AANMA.