New Drug Law Not Perfect, But is Helping

David Rodrigues
David Rodrigues
Joanne Martin
Joanne Martin

by Stephen Florino

HONOLULU (KHNL) - From now on, you'll need to show a picture ID to buy most cold medicines. It's because of a new law that just went into effect in Hawaii that's supposed to help in the war on drugs.

"It's good protection for everybody and it's good protection for the ones that need not to get hold of it," said David Rodrigues, he picked up some medicine to help treat a cold he's had for a day.

"The law is the law and you gotta do things to protect people," said Rodrigues.

A key ingredient in most cold medicines -- pseudoephedrine -- can also be used to make crystal meth, or ice. All of those medicines are now behind the counter.

"There's some patients that find it inconvenient, there's some patients that find it's good," said Times Supermarket pharmacist Joanna Martin.

When it comes to tracking sales, each store will be different. At Times, you need a photo id, and you need to fill out a form. After that, your name will be entered into a database so each Times store on the island will know who bought medicine, and how much.

A federal law that went into effect in April already limits the amount you can buy. It comes out to no more than one box per day, or three boxes a month.

"If you're sick, it should be fine," said Martin.

There is a loophole. People could go from store to store and buy the medicine without the sales being tracked. State officials say that's a problem that all states are dealing with, and will hopefully fix in the future with more legislation.

Officials admit the law isn't perfect, but say it is helping.

The number of meth labs found has dropped from 17 last year, to just four so far this year.