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Larissa Doucette

Federal CSIII Classification for PSE May Hold High Potential to Reduce Meth Trafficking and Abuse, NASCSA White Paper Concludes
Designating pseudoephedrine (PSE) as a Schedule III controlled substance (CS) at the federal level could have a high potential impact on reducing methamphetamine abuse and production in clandestine laboratories, concludes the authors of a white paper released by the National Association of State Controlled Substance Authorities (NASCSA) on April 30, 2012. The paper “summarizes the impact of state and federal PSE laws on methamphetamine trafficking and abuse” and indicates that state laws requiring electronic tracking may show an initial impact on indicators of abuse, such as treatment admissions, but have little or no impact on the number of clandestine labs, as explained in the NASCSA executive summary (PDF). Further, the paper concludes that state laws classifying PSE as a Schedule V CS (no prescription) reduce lab incidents initially, but a rebound effect is seen, and state laws classifying PSE a Schedule III CS (prescription only) have a sustained impact on reducing lab incidents, and more study is needed to see if abuse indicators are also impacted. Meth activity has been seen to shift across state lines in response to state regulations, affecting the impact of laws in individual states. As noted in the executive summary, the authors also recommended that “states grappling with methamphetamine trafficking and abuse problems should consider policy changes focused on prevention and treatment that impact the demand side of the methamphetamine abuse equation” in addition to laws focused on the supply side.

The report, “Impact of State Laws Regulating Pseudoephedrine on Methamphetamine Trafficking and Abuse”, was commissioned by NASCSA and prepared by Patricia R. Freeman, PhD, RPH, and Jeffery Talbert, PhD, from the Institute for Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science at the College of Pharmacy at the University of Kentucky.