April 13, 2010
• Posted in

Oregon is the only state in the country that requires a prescription to purchase cold and allergy medications that contain a key ingredient for methamphetamine production

Oregon Attorney General John Kroger testified today before Congress and urged the passage of a national law that would require a doctor’s prescription to obtain cold and allergy medications that contain a key precursor ingredient of methamphetamine.

“Oregon’s decision to put cold medicines with pseudoephedrine behind the counter in 2006 dramatically reduced the number of meth labs in the state,” said Attorney General Kroger. “I’m urging Congress to pass Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden’s bill, which would adopt for the entire country Oregon’s remarkably effective law.”

Attorney General Kroger testified in Washington, D.C., before the United States Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control.

The results of Oregon’s law have been dramatic. Meth lab seizures fell from 472 in 2004 to 10 in 2009.

More than 40 states have taken steps to address domestic methamphetamine production, but none as aggressive as Oregon’s approach. For example, a law passed by Kentucky in 2005 requiring customers to show photo identification to purchase cold medicine with pseudoephedrine showed initial positive results. Meth lab seizures dropped from 589 in 2005 to 328 in 2006. But meth producers began using straw buyers to avoid detection and lab seizures increased 41 percent from 2007 to 2008.

According to a study conducted by the RAND Corporation, meth addiction costs the nation $23 billion each year in law enforcement, environmental cleanup and drug treatment expenditures. Meth labs leave environmental waste and meth addiction increases child abuse and neglect.

“Putting pseudoephedrine behind pharmacy counters is only part of the solution,” said Attorney General Kroger. “We also need tough enforcement against illegal meth production and distribution organizations and world class treatment and prevention programs.”

Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department’s mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, promote a positive business climate, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.


Tony Green, (503) 378-6002 |