"It's all about greed," said Chad Napier, a task force member who is a narcotics detective with the Charleston Police Department. "You [lobbyists] are paid by these people, I understand that, but the only argument has got to do with money."
"How many people have died from prescription drugs in this state," Gutierrez responded. "Has [a prescription] really served as a deterrent?"
"How many people have been blown up in a meth lab fire?" asked Mike Rutherford, chief deputy with the Kanawha Sheriff's Department. "We could go on and on about this. It's greed. That's all it is."
"Look, if we're really going to debate this, we don't have to resort to rhetoric," Gutierrez shot back.
"It's not rhetoric. It's true," Rutherford said. "Look at all the money you're making on this."
The task force's recommended prescription requirement would exempt "tamper resistant" medicines, such as Nexafed and Zephrex-D, which contain pseudoephedrine. Meth cooks can't make meth from those products.
The Kanawha County Substance Abuse Task Force also voted unanimously Thursday to recommend that lawmakers:
• Pass a "Good Samaritan" law that would give immunity from prosecution to people who call 911 to report drug overdoses.
• Earmark funding for a public-education campaign about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.
• Establish an anonymous "tip line" for people to report medical professionals who prescribe excessive amounts of controlled substances.
The Kanawha County Commission established the task force in September. The group expects to deliver a written report to the commission by Nov. 30.
"Hopefully, we'll make some difference," said Dr. Dan Foster, who heads the task force. "These issues are so important to this community and to the state."
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.