MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - If you thought it was already a hassle to get your cold medication, Tennessee now joins the nationwide fight against meth. But, the new laws don't stop there.
Keeping key ingredients out of the hands of meth manufacturers has been a long battle that cops have had a hard time winning.
Now, pharmacies are now required to use a statewide tracking system that will record and instantly relay who's buying over the counter cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in meth production. In addition, the law stiffens penalties for making meth in front of a child.
"I think it will help in the war against over the counter being sold to people looking to break the law," noted Melvin T. Norman Jr., Program Director at Synergy drug rehab. "I think it's necessary and helpful."
But Norman said it isn't the biggest drug problem in the state. "I'm seeing a lot more prescription drugs are probably on the rise… We're seeing more and more prescription drugs being abused."
Tennessee is second in the nation for over-utilizing pain medications. Now clinics will be held responsible. They will be regulated by the state, with regular inspections that will also cover personnel and patient records.
Another new law is now in effect for anyone caught drinking and driving. Blood alcohol testing is now required if the driver has a previous DUI conviction or when there's a child in the car.
"There are some people probably making noise about constitutional rights of blood testing laws," Norman said, but added that this new law is "much, much different. When you have a child involved I think the laws need to change, they are changing. This is proof our legal entities are more astringent on what they're doing."
Also, several bills were approved that will strengthen sex offender laws this year, including one that allows the court to increase sentencing for offenders. Right now they are typically sentenced to 25 years; this law allows up to 60 years.