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Moving PSE to Rx-only in Mo. lacks fiscal sense

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The forward-looking vision employed by Gov. Jay Nixon in exploring “next steps” in fighting methamphetamine abuse before even the last step has been put into place and enacted is, in a matter of speaking, extremely short-sighted. It doesn’t even make fiscal sense, because the National Precursor Log Exchange will do more to curb many of the costs associated with fighting meth addicts without conversely increasing the costs associated with fighting a cold. And truth be told, there are probably a lot more stuffy heads in Missouri than there are meth addicts.

(THE NEWS: Missouri gov campaigns for Rx-only PSE legislation. For the full story, click here)

The costs associated with combating methamphetamine addiction are too large an issue not to influence some of these enforcement tactics. Because that’s what cutting off the source (PSE) to eliminate the problem (meth cooks) is supposed to do — reduce the number of meth cooks and thereby mitigate the exorbitant costs associated with fighting meth.

And those enforcement costs are significant. According to a Bureau of Environmental Health document, average meth lab cleanup costs in Oregon totaled $6,500 per 1,000 square feet of property, and that didn’t include the upfront assessment cost of $1,500. The Website of Nevada’s Attorney General, Catherine Cortez Masto, suggested actual total costs are far beyond calculation. Masto listed some 13 items that would have to be considered in tabulating such a cost, including the dismantling of those meth labs, the arrest, prosecution and housing/healthcare (by way of imprisonment) of any meth users and the assumption of care for any meth addict’s child.

That’s a good deal of budgetary line items that cuts across multiple state government disciplines — law enforcement, healthcare and social welfare to name a few.

The NPLEx solution helps identify those with a possible meth problem before they’re actually able to illegally convert that PSE into meth. Intercepting those PSE products before they reach that trailer park laboratory at the very least eliminates clean up costs. And that’s maybe the most controllable cost in the system, because making PSE products only available by prescription won’t reduce the number of meth addicts.

It’ll will only force them to go underground.

California can testify to that — before the practice of “smurfing” brought illicit PSE acquisition back to the states, drug dealers were sourcing bulk PSE from Mexico. It was when Mexico began cracking down on those bulk deliveries that stateside dealers domesticated the practice of smurfing.

Making PSE products available only by prescription would not only NOT mitigate enforcement/fallout costs, but also would significantly increase the costs associated with relieving the common cold. Adults average between two and four colds every year, and children between six and 10. If those patients actually did opt to go to the doctor for their sniffles, it both directly increases the cost of care (including those on the Medicaid rolls, incidentally) and indirectly impacts the quality of care as an already-overburdened doctor community will now have to squeeze cold patients into their schedules. 

And for those who didn’t opt to see a doctor, well they’ll either be less productive at work, or miss work or school altogether.

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Celebrating the holidays in style with American Greetings

BY Allison Cerra

CLEVELAND — Customers looking to make the holiday season merry and bright can look no further than American Greetings.

The greeting card company has introduced a new collection of Christmas cards to its lineup, which includes special recordable music cards that allow senders to sing along to their favorite carols, while the new Kathy Davis cards feature watercolor art and heartfelt words.

American Greetings also has introduced new wrapping paper that includes plenty of character. The company this year is touting traditional seasonal favorites, such as Rudolph and Frosty, and such modern stars as Dora the Explorer, Spongebob Squarepants and the characters from Sesame Street, "A Christmas Story" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."

Consumers can find everything they need this holiday season at participating drug chains, grocery stores and mass retailers nationwide, as well as in American Greetings and Carlton Cards retail stores.

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Stater Bros. recognized for green waste-reduction efforts

BY Allison Cerra

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — A regional supermarket chain’s green efforts have paid off.

One year from when Stater Bros. introduced its "Green Waste" composting program, which turns organic waste into compost that is sold to area farmers, the retailer was named the 2010 Waste Reduction Awards Program winner by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery.

The CalRecycle WRAP award acknowledged the Stater Bros. composting program, which removed more than 27 million lbs. of waste from landfills in its eight months of operation in 2009, the company said. The retailer also implemented a "green team," which reviews, selects and implements business practices that promote the long-term well-being of the company, the community and the environment.

The CalRecycle WRAP has been recognizing the environmentally friendly business strategies of California businesses since 1993.

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