CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- While Gov. Earl Tomblin touted his accomplishments at addressing the state's rampant drug abuse problem in his State of the State address, he did not say whether he would take his advisory council's primary recommendation to curb the state's epidemic of methamphetamine labs.
Tomblin talked about the addition of recovery coaches in north central West Virginia to help those graduating from substance abuse treatment programs and new detox stabilization units that will operate in the Northern Panhandle as well as Greenbrier and Logan counties.
He did not say whether he would support a recommendation from the Governor's Advisory Council on Substance Abuse to make pseudoephedrine -- a key ingredient in meth -- available only by prescription.
"His own council has recently voted to make [pseudoephedrine] a prescription," said Dr. Rahul Gupta, health officer for the Kanawha Charleston Health Department and a member of the county's meth task force. "We hope that he supports it."
Advocates for making the drug prescription-only say it will reduce the number of meth labs, which are costly and dangerous to clean up.
"We have to data to show that making Sudafed a prescription does impact the meth labs," Gupta said. "It's enacted in Mississippi and Oregon and it's working there."
The governor hasn't always agreed to every recommendation from the advisory council. In 2012, Tomblin rejected the council's recommendation that he raise taxes on cigarettes and alcohol to pay for drug-treatment programs.
Gupta said he hopes this recommendation has better luck, because it doesn't require increased taxes.
Other recommendations to curbing the state's meth problem have included making it illegal for someone to purchase pseudoephedrine after they've been convicted of creating a meth lab. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has also suggested lowering the amount of pseudoephedrine a person can purchase.
Tomblin didn't mention any of those recommendations.
"I think the most effective way would be to make it a prescription only and not have it over the counter at all," said Perry Bryant, executive director of West Virginians for Affordable Health Care. "That would probably help reduce the number of meth labs through out the state dramatically."