Mobile — Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochrane has just a few days left in his term. He now talks about his own career and how his things were not what he first thought.
Cochrane was first elected sheriff in 2006. He was re-elected in his 2010, 2014 and 2018 years. He will retire on his Monday, January 16, after his 47 years in law enforcement.
One of the greatest successes of his career was passing a law requiring pharmacies to share information about people buying pseudoephedrine, which can be used to make methamphetamine. By law, anyone with valid state ID and no felony record on record can purchase up to two pseudoephedrine products at a time. Cochran is proud that the law was passed and knows firsthand how effective it is, he said.
“It was crazy. I had never drank it in my life except when I needed to get it,” recalled Cochrane. They asked for my driver’s license, I took it out, and they said, ‘This is expired.'” I said, “What? , I can’t even get this, but I thought, “My own laws just stopped me from buying pseudoephedrine.” But it was my fault. ”
In addition to debilitating poisoning, Mobile has experienced dangerous fires from methamphetamine manipulation in homes, apartments, and businesses. Cochrane said he wants to enact legislation to mandate the prescription of pseudoephedrine because first responders are overwhelmed by the effects of the dangerous drug.
“We were devastated by it,” he explained. “And we’re very close to Mississippi, and Mississippi passed a bill to make pseudoephedrine a prescription-only drug, so people rushed to Mobile from there to get it. In fact, Semmes I believe the Walmart on Moffett Street in Alabama had the most sales of pseudoephedrine of any store in Alabama.”
Cochrane said the problem began in earnest around 2009 and persisted for several years. Cochran has led an effort with lawmakers to make it more difficult for people to manufacture methamphetamine. But when he arrived in Montgomery, he said things didn’t go as planned.
Cochrane said he soon learned that the law would not pass. When he spoke with then-Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, Cochrane claims Hubbard told him not to pass the bill. He said he discovered he was receiving money from pharmaceutical companies. According to the Secretary of State’s campaign contribution records, Hubbard received campaign contributions from Pharmavite, PHRMA, and Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. Hubbard was recently released from prison after serving time for ethics violations, and was not available for comment, but Cochrane said he has spoken to people who know exactly how the game of politics plays out. Did.
“I’ve learned a lot in my career,” Cochrane told 1819 News. “Unfortunately, toward the end of your career or midway through your career, you learn how it really works…they start giving money in different ways, so it’s hard to keep track of. It’s just pure influence.So they gave Mike Hubbard a lot of money and of course he turned around and at the time they gave money to the PAC he was in charge of and he gave that money Gave it to other members of Congress and they endorsed him.Becomes Speaker of the House.That’s how it worked then and I think it still does now.Although they can no longer give money directly from their campaign accounts , can have a PAC fund.”
Cochran told 1819 News that he learned more than he expected from befriending a pharmaceutical lobbyist at the time.
“He said, ‘Look, the way we kill the bill is that we have a few players in Congress,'” Cochrane said of the lobbyists. You have the chairman and one or two other people, and that’s all you have to focus on.’ So he said. “What we’re going to do is run ads in their local governments,” because that’s what they’ve done here, and those ads say, “Don’t take our drugs.” We need our medicine.” They ran them and spent a lot of money. Since then I’ve learned he was absolutely right…it’s a major player in them and I’m not going to disagree with what the chairman of that committee says so there’s no need to pick someone else . ”
Cochran said Walmart Corporation also opposed his efforts to make pseudoephedrine a prescription-only drug. He said the drug made Walmart so profitable that it lobbied against the bill even though the company’s pharmacists supported the bill. In the end, no law was passed, but he is happy that a law has been passed that requires pharmacies to connect and share information.
In Mobile County, where there are still many methamphetamine users, Cochran says the problems caused by meth production have decreased significantly. He said the law was one of the most successful policies he introduced during his time as sheriff.
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