Meth bill passes Colorado house

Bill would make it harder to obtain over-the-counter meds used to make meth.

BY Mike Grippi

April 07 2006 11:00 PM ET

A bill aimed at
fighting the rising rate of crystal meth use in Colorado
was approved by the state house on Thursday. The bill would
make the ingredients used to make meth more difficult
to obtain and would impose harsh penalties on those
who expose young people to the drug.

The bill would
require that over-the-counter medications used to make
meth, including many allergy and cold treatments, be moved
to behind the counters of pharmacies so they cannot be
sold in large quantities, and would prohibit the sale
of the medications to anyone under age 18. The bill
also would establish a legislative oversight committee to
examine the manufacture, distribution, and abuse of
meth in the state. A task force would be created to
determine the best methods for prevention,
intervention, and treatment for meth within
Colorado’s criminal justice system.

“Over the
past five years, 70 % of Colorado counties reported major
increases in out-of-home or foster care due to the
manufacture of methamphetamines,” state
representative Judy Solano, the Democrat who sponsored
the bill, said in a press statement. “Colorado must
put an end to the use of this drug that is destroying
the very foundation of our families.”

The bill awaits a
vote on its third reading in the house. If approved, it
would move to the state senate.

Health officials
in Denver reported in March that rising rates of crystal
methamphetamine use by gay and bisexual men in the region is
leading to an increase in HIV transmissions, The
Denver Post
reports. A recent survey found
that 11% of gay and bisexual men in the city reported
meth use in the last year, about double the rate of
the general U.S. population. The study also showed that gay
meth users were three times as likely to have had
unprotected sex in the previous year than nonusers and
that 21% of men who used meth were HIV-positive.

The number of new
HIV cases diagnosed each year in Denver increased by
over 50% between 2000 and 2004, with 180 new cases confirmed
last year. The city health department says meth use by
gay men is a significant cause for the rise in
infections. (The Advocate)

Tags: Health

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