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Meth bill passes
Colorado house

Meth bill passes
Colorado house

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

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)

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