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Meth Bill Fails, But Epidemic Remains

Reported: Mar. 9, 2014 9:59 PM EDT
Updated: Mar. 9, 2014 10:46 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Dave Benton) -- It's no secret that meth is a huge problem in our region.

But Saturday night, lawmakers once again failed to pass the controversial meth bill to require a prescription for commonly-used cold medicines.

Even though lawmakers spent four hours of the last two days of the session on the bill, Senate Bill 6 died without a final vote. If passed, the law would've made certain cold medicines, like pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient used to make meth, hard to buy.

The problem has gotten so bad in our region emergency responders are being trained this weekend on how to deal with meth explosions or even meth labs found at a crime scene.

“They need fire departments and emergency organizations to know how to respond to these types incidents in a safe and professional manner, so everyone goes home,” Tom Miller, of WVU Fire Service, said.

Some say a new law could help cut down on meth crimes. When the Senate passed the bill, the House of Delegates took out the "prescription only" measure, but wanted counties to put the law on the ballot.

People had mixed reactions about the bill not passing.

“Meth around here is horrible,” T.J. Stone of Charleston said. “I've seen a lot of families go down, people selling whole houses and everything. I'd like to have seen it passed.”

James Hill of Charleston also weighed in.

“It'll help us in the war on meth, but hurt us if we, the families, need prescriptions,” he said.

Until there's a solution to the meth epidemic, emergency responders will still do what they can to protect themselves around meth labs.

“We're constantly faced with new challenges and new hazards,” Miller said. “We have to stay ahead of the game, because, if we're behind the game, then it's a sad day in the fire service.”



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