"If you look at the devastation [meth] causes to families, to the lives of people and children, you have to vote for this," said council member Mark Drennan, who works as executive director of the West Virginia Behavioral Healthcare Providers Association. "It's a scourge."
The council's recommendation is expected to include an exemption for tamper-resistant drugs containing pseudoephedrine, such as Zephrex-D and Nexafed. Both products are nearly impossible to convert to meth.
"That will break [meth makers'] business," said Keith Humphreys, a Stanford University professor who spoke to the council by speakerphone Wednesday.
Humphreys said requiring a prescription for pseudoephedrine products wouldn't necessarily lead to a decrease in meth use. Addicts likely would turn to meth imported from Mexico, he said.
"I'm not promising people won't use meth. They will. But it will get rid of the labs," said Humphreys, a Morgantown native and former national drug policy advisor to Presidents Obama and George W. Bush.
Only Oregon and Mississippi have statewide laws that require a prescription for cold medications containing pseudoephedrine. Counties and cities in other states have similar local ordinances.
"Our state is suffering from an increase in meth labs," Humphreys said. "We know the solution: It's putting these products on prescription-only status."
Also Wednesday, the substance-abuse task force voted to recommend that the governor oppose any legislation that would legalize marijuana for medical or recreational use.
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.