Mayor speaks to legislative committee about meth
INDIANAPOLIS — Plymouth’s Mayor Mark Senter took his fight against methamphetamine to the statehouse on Wednesday.
Senter — representing the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns — testified before the Indiana General Assembly’s Criminal Law Study Committee in Indianapolis. Senter says that he simply told the committee his story.
“I told them about the day I pulled out of my driveway one morning and the Indiana State Police meth unit was in the driveway of the house down the street,” said Senter. “Right across from Washington Elementary where my kids were going to school. It became personal for me that day.”
Senter – a state policeman at that time in the mid 90’s – became a member of the ISP meth unit and spent much of his career before running for mayor fighting the spread and manufacture of the drug. He told the committee of the exponential growth of the drug.
“There may have been one or two labs in the county in the mid 90’s,” he said. “About 2000 everything started to take off. Things just exploded. We were finding one after another, after another. It was then everybody began to realize there was a problem.”
There is a growing contingency among law enforcement and lawmakers to attempt to make pseudoephedrine a prescription medication. Senter spoke about what he has done as mayor to attempt to curtail the meth epidemic in Plymouth with the Multi-Agency Drug Unit and monthly Town Hall Meetings.
Other speakers included sheriffs, prosecutors, and judges along with representatives from the Indiana State Medical Association, the Indiana Retail Council and the Indiana Drug Enforcement Association.
Electronic tracking of the sales of pseudoephedrine has just been introduced this month in Indiana, but the law requiring limits on the decongestants began in July of 2006. Two states, Oregon and Mississippi have already switched to requiring a prescription for pseudoephedrine. Indiana changed from prescription to over-the-counter pseudoephedrine in 1976.
“I really wish I had a better pulse of what they (the state legislators) want to do,” said Senter. “I’d be willing to see if the new database they’ve introduced will make a difference in taking care of the problem. Give it a couple of years and then maybe look at making pseudoephedrine a prescription drug. It’s really hard to say what’s going to come of this.”