INDIANAPOLIS - Proposed state legislation would curtail the amount of pseudoephedrine Hoosiers can purchase in a year without a doctor's prescription.
The proposed legislation is far-reaching and multi-faceted.
Among other provisions, it would allow individual local governments to impose more stringent laws than the state when it comes to the ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, the critical ingredient in the manufacture of methamphetamine.
"The meth lab problem in Evansville is horrible," said Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke.
In five years, the number of meth labs in Evansville has increased by nearly 400 percent.
"It's a huge problem in our city and we need assistance from the state legislature to help solve what is a huge problem here and according to the numbers, is a huge problem about the state," Winnecke said.
In 2011, Indiana ranked second in the nation in meth labs. And together with Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri, these four states had more than half the meth labs in the country.
A bill introduced in the Indiana legislature would limit the annual purchase of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine.
The bill also would add more chemicals to the list of precursors. It would require a person to disclose if meth was manufactured in a home or vehicle before it's sold.
And the bill would allow local governments to require Hoosiers to obtain a prescription if they consume more than 28 grams of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine in a year.
"We talked to the allergists, and they say a four-month seasonal supply is really a large amount," said Rep. Ron Bacon, R-Warrick County. "And it should take care of that. If you need more than that, you should be seeing a physician on a regular basis, or at least once a year."
The bill doesn't change the current state law that allows Hoosiers to purchase up to 7 grams of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine products per month.
The authors say the intent is to stop large numbers of people who are paid by meth labs to go out and purchase their monthly supply.