Those of us who are active in the community are sometimes accused of not understanding “how government works.” We do often get frustrated with the slow process of change in government.
Recently, Sheriff Jim Ruth published an article in the [Cleveland Daily Banner] scolding the Republican Majority in Nashville for “dropping the ball” regarding stronger government restrictions on ingredients used for meth. His attack was off base and partially driven by a more personal agenda.
We choose to deal with the policy implications of his assertions and ignore his personal agenda. Here are the facts we can all agreed on:
1) Meth is a horrible drug.
2) We must use all reasonable means to fight it.
3) The need for government restriction must also be balanced against our state and federal constitutions, and individual rights.
Recently, legislators were faced with legislation that would have required a prescription for products such as Sudafed, Benadryl and many others. Imagine you get the sniffles and want to still have a productive day at work. Under today’s law, you go to a local store and purchase a product to help your symptoms. When you make that purchase your activity is tracked. Those buying large quantities of such items will catch the attention of law enforcement if law enforcement is doing their job. Appropriate steps should be taken to make sure the purchasers are not in the business of making meth.
If Sheriff Ruth has his way, rather than merely going to the store for a quick purchase, you would first have to call your doctor for an appointment and pay a co-pay for your visit. After a visit to your doctor, you would be given a prescription for a sinus medicine, make a visit to the local pharmacy and obtain the product. Under this plan, you have invested time and money that could have been used elsewhere.
The Legislature had a tough call and in my opinion made the right decision in balancing the greater public good: the need to fight against the spread of meth and limitations placed on the rights of all citizens.
The public policy debate should continue. Those who choose to enter the debate should be honest and forthright in that discussion. Sheriff Ruth’s article fails that test on virtually every level.
— Charles Dunson