Bill would help fight U.P. meth problem

Legislation introduced in the state House last week would give authorities another weapon in the fight against a growing problem in the U.P. – the manufacture of methamphetamine.

The seriousness of the U.P.’s methamphetamine problem can’t be understated – and it appears to be growing. Just look through the pages of this newspaper. It would be difficult to find a week without some news report of arrests for methamphetamine use or production or the discovery of another meth dump site or lab.

The latest legislation introduced in Lansing to address the meth problem targets “smurfing.” It’s a way drug dealers manage to get the ingredients they need to manufacture meth. “Smurfing ” involves organized groups of people buying smaller quantities of medicines containing pseudoephedrine and combine the drug to make meth. There are limits on how much ephedrine individuals can buy, and combining resources is a way around the restrictions. The legislation would make it a felony to purchase pseudoephedrine knowing it will be combined with other ephedrine to make meth. The bills also would create a stop-sale notification for anyone convicted of a felony drug conviction who is buying a product containing pseudoephedrine.

Will passage of this legislation stop methamphetamine production in the U.P. and the rest of the state? Sadly, no, it will not.

Will it make the efforts to produce meth much more difficult? Yes.

Will it give law enforcement another tool to battle the meth problem? Yes.

Will it help eventually decrease the amount of meth that makes its way to the street. Yes.

For those reasons and more it should get the support of the Legislature and Gov. Snyder.

The legislation is a bipartisan effort and is sponsored by Democratic Rep. John Kivela of Marquette and Republican Reps. Bob Genetski of Saugatuck and Aric Nesbitt of Lawton.

Let’s hope this worthwhile legislation becomes law quickly so meth dealers have one more thing to worry about.