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'Stand in the Gap' continues push to curb meth use

11:27 AM, May 20, 2013   |    comments
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The Stand in the Gap Coalition is looking to tackle the region's meth problem with the help of local politicians and officials.

Since the organization found its footing in 2011, it has created chapters in 10 counties across East Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky.

"There's strength in numbers," said organizer Edwin Robertson.

It may need those numbers too. It was just last month that the Tennessee Meth Task Force projected Tennessee to overtake Missouri as the number one state in the country for meth busts.

Robertson said Stand in the Gap plans to throw itself behind a number of initiatives to curb that trend. He said the group will once again support legislation brought about by TN Rep. David Hawk that will look to make pseudoephedrine a drug only available by prescription in Tennessee.

While the bill did not pass in the 2013 session, Hawk said he was hopeful it would in 2014 with an increase in support.

"We're at a point where we've got to do something," Hawk told members at a Sunday meeting.

The group said it also plans to join 8th Judicial District Attorney General Lori Phillips-Jones in her push to persuade pharmacists to use the drug Nexafed as an alternative to pseudoephedrine.

She said the decongestant drug, which was released on the market in December, cannot be used to make meth and therefore could cut down on the drug's production.

"I think it would have a very strong impact on the meth labs we see in our communities if the pharmacies would only sell Nexafed," she said.

Phillips-Jones told 10News she plans to meet with pharmacists in her district about the drug in June.

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