Oklahoma considers registry for meth convicts

OKLAHOMA CITY The Oklahoma House Public Safety Committee voted on Wednesday to create a state registry of meth offenders similar to the sex-offender registry as part of House Bill 3380, the Oklahoma Methamphetamine Offender Registry Act. The measure now moves for consideration by the entire Oklahoma House of Representatives.

"The meth offender registry will help the public identify potential threats in their neighborhoods and increase scrutiny on individuals who have been involved in meth production and distribution," stated Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore. "The increased public awareness should help deter these criminals from future crimes or lead to their swift arrest if they recidivate."

"This is an important public safety measure and I am pleased it has received committee passage," added Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore. "Once it passes the full House, I look forward to moving it through the Senate and hopefully on to the governor."

Under the bill, those convicted of possession, manufacture or distribution of methamphetamine would be required to register with the state.

Individuals listed in the registry due to a previous meth conviction will be blocked from purchasing pseudoephedrine at any pharmacy. Additionally, those listed in the Methamphetamine Offender Registry will be prohibited from possessing pseudoephedrine.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control would maintain the registry, which would include the following information: name of the offender, date of birth, offenses and conviction, and county where the offense occurred.

Over the past two years, a new recipe has surfaced utilizing smaller amounts of pseudoephedrine that has resulted in a boom in methamphetamine production in Oklahoma, the legislators announced.

According to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, the new recipe is responsible for a dramatic increase in meth lab seizures — from 213 labs in 2008 to 690 labs in 2009.

Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics data collected on customers attempting to purchase pseudoephedrine shows many of them have a criminal history involving methamphetamine offenses.

The proposed Oklahoma Methamphetamine Offender Registry will be tied to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics' existing database used to track pseudoephedrine purchases.

The bill has the support of Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics officials.

"We must be strategic and surgical in our pursuit of the controls of pseudoephedrine,” commented Darrell Weaver, director of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics. “There are many good citizens in Oklahoma who need it and should not be denied access. But there are illicit methamphetamine manufacturers in Oklahoma who will destroy themselves and everyone in their paths with clandestine laboratories."

The legislation also has been endorsed by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, the trade association representing major U.S. manufacturers of nonprescription medicines.

In a letter provided to committee members, CHPA director of state government relations Mandy Hagan stated: "CHPA supports Oklahoma's efforts to enhance enforcement of its progressive precursor control laws and continue to fight the illegal diversion of PSE [pseudoephedrine] for meth manufacture. HB 3380 provides an additional tool to law enforcement in that fight."

Individuals who are not convicted of subsequent meth offenses within 10 years could then have their name removed from the registry. Any person who completes a deferred sentence prior to the 10-year time limitation could provide the state a certified copy of the dismissal of the case and also have his or her name removed.

Under the bill, any individual who assists a person on the registry in the purchase of any pseudoephedrine products could face one year in jail or a fine of up to $1,000, or both, on the first conviction. Subsequent convictions could result in a two-year prison sentence and fine of at least $2,500 or both.

House Bill 3380 was passed the House Public Safety Committee Wednesday. It now goes to the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

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