CHARLESTON, W.Va., July 7 (UPI) -- In an effort curb the production of methamphetamine in West Virginia, CVS Caremark has agreed to cease selling several over-the-counter cold medicines at stores in the state.
Products containing pseudoephedrine, one of the main ingredient used in the production of meth, will no longer be sold at CVS stores in West Virginia. Other pharmacy chains are expected to follow suit. The ban will also stretch 15 miles past the West Virginia border in all directions.
In 2012, there were 284 meth lab incidents. That number approached 600 in 2013. Mississippi used to challenge West Virginia as the state most riddled by meth problems, but problems have been somewhat ameliorated there since lawmakers mandated that pseudoephedrine-containing meds be prescription-only.
The move by CVS comes after repeated pleas from U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, W.Va.-Dem., to help make meth production that much more difficult.
"Substance abuse has ravaged West Virginia, and the local production and abuse of methamphetamine has only added to the epidemic," Manchin said. "It is past time that we take strong action to stop this cycle of abuse."
"In a lot of ways this is better than what the legislature could have done," said Dr. Rahul Gupta, executive director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department. "That's another instance in which the private sector is coming together to assist to protect the citizens of our state and the surrounding areas as well."