CHARLESTON, W.Va.--A new poll finds the majority of West Virginia voters oppose requiring a prescription for medicines containing pseudoephedrine but support banning criminals from buying the meth-making ingredient.
The poll found 56 percent of West Virginia voters said they would oppose legislation that would require a doctor's prescription for cold and allergy drugs containing pseudoephedrine, and 41 percent of voters would "strongly oppose" such a law.
Forty percent of voters said they would support such a law, and 23 percent would "strongly" support it.
An overwhelming majority of respondents, 80 percent, said they would approve of a measure banning criminals convicted of meth crimes from buying pseudoephedrine-based drugs for 10 years.
The poll was conducted by Mark Blankenship Enterprises and commissioned by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, which represents over-the-counter drug companies.
It surveyed 604 registered West Virginia voters between Nov. 9 and Nov. 12. The margin of error is 3.9 percent, at a 95 percent confidence level.
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association is a strong opponent of prescription-only pseudoephedrine legislation.
Some lawmakers, along with members of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's Advisory Council on Substance Abuse, believe requiring prescriptions for pseudoephedrine would help combat illegal methamphetamine production in West Virginia.
Elizabeth Funderburk, spokeswoman for the association, said the poll results confirm what the group has told lawmakers all along.
"I think it underscores what we know to be true. Consumers want to find solutions that punish criminals, but not law-abiding citizens," she said. "Let's let criminals convicted of a crime be the ones who go to the doctor to get a prescription."
Carlos Gutierrez, the association's director of state government relations, said polls show the views of average West Virginians who were not considered by Tomblin's task force.