News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

September 3, 2009

Wabash Valley woman didn’t realize second cold medicine purchase violated drug laws



Alexander said she is working with Harpold about the charge, but the prosecutor asserts that Harpold did break the law with her purchases and is being held accountable.

“I do want people to know that we will check the pharmacy records and we will prosecute people who violate this law,” Alexander said.

Vermillion County Sheriff Bob Spence said he also is willing to help Harpold overcome the negative situation.

“If there’s any way we can help her, we will,” Spence said.

He explained that the process leading to Harpold’s arrest involved an officer checking area pharmacy purchase records, and coming up with about 40 purchases that violated the law.

That information was then taken to the prosecutor, whose staff drew up the probable cause affidavits to be filed in court. A judge then found probable cause and issued arrest warrants, and the sheriff’s department is required by statute to see that the warrants are served.

Harpold was not arrested by Vermillion County officers, Spence stressed, since her residence is in Parke County. But she was returned to Clinton where she was questioned and processed.

Spence agreed with pharmacist Vencel’s scenario that the people making the meth often send other people to buy the medicine. And Vigo County Sheriff Jon Marvel, who recently renewed efforts to track pseudoephedrine sales in the Wabash Valley, understands Harpold’s arrest is embarrassing for her.

“Sometimes mistakes happen,” Marvel said. “It’s unfortunate. But for the good of everyone, the law was put into effect.

“I feel for her, but if she could go to one of the area hospitals and see a baby born to a meth-addicted mother …”

For now, Harpold is hoping to raise public awareness so others will avoid the stress she is going through. She has written to state lawmakers and to U.S. Sens. Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh and Congressman Brad Ellsworth about changing the law.

So far, only Lugar has responded to her letter, she said, but she will continue to pursue the issue.

“I just don’t want this to happen to other people.”

Lisa Trigg can be reached at (812) 231-4254 or

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    March 12, 2010