Council OKs ephedrine ordinance

The most vocal opponent of an ordinance limiting the placement of ephedrine-based products was the first to motion for its approval Tuesday night.

Craig City Council member Don Jones changed his stance after hearing that communities with similar bans had fewer methamphetamine problems.

"Statistics show where they've passed an ordinance like this, the number of meth labs have drastically fallen," said Kevin Langley, chairman of a local grass-roots meth task force. "All we're saying is that we don't want this (drug) in our town. It's to the benefit of everybody that we pass this ordinance."

The ordinance -- which won't be official until approved by a second and final reading Jan. 25 -- requires stores that sell products primarily containing ephedrine to put those products in a secure location. Secure locations include behind a manned counter or in a locked cabinet.

That would affect up to an estimated four types of products such as Sudafed and Actifed.

"I see this as more of a statement that the community doesn't tolerate this," Mayor Dave DeRose said. "If you're a meth head, you don't want to be exposed and you're very, very paranoid."

DeRose, a member of the Communities Overcoming Methamphetamine Abuse task force, said he thought the ordinance would not only limit theft of ephedrine-based products, but also would show those using it illegally that the city was taking a stand.

Ephedrine is the one ingredient that is required to produce meth. The ingredients that produce the chemical reaction to make the crystal substances can change according to availability, but ephedrine is a must.

Jones originally opposed the ordinance, saying it would be difficult for the city to enforce, and asked whether individual stores could revise their policies.

"This is a message we're sending to the community that we don't want that here," Sheriff Buddy Grinstead said.

And the message is not just being directed toward members of the Craig community.

Sgt. Bill Leonard told of a well-dressed man driving a car with out-of-state license plates who asked to buy several bottles of iodine crystals -- another meth ingredient -- from a local feed store.

"It doesn't take long for word to get around that you can go to Craig and get this stuff."

Councilor Tom Gilchrist said enacting the ordinance was a small price to pay in light of the effort the entire town is making to eradicate meth use and manufacture.

"That's perfect," Jones said. "That's our goal, to keep it out of here."

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