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  1. Alfa
    EPHEDRINE BAN MAY NOT AFFECT METH PRODUCTION

    The Food and Drug Administration's official ban on dietary
    supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids (ephedra) will go into
    effect Monday.

    On Feb. 6, the FDA issued a final rule prohibiting the sale of
    dietary supplements containing ephedra "because such supplements
    present an unreasonable risk of illness or injury" and stated that the
    rule would become effective 60 days from the date of
    publication.

    "In December, we advised consumers to stop using ephedra products, and
    we asked responsible companies to stop selling them," said FDA
    Commissioner Mark B. McClellan. "We intend to use this regulation to
    make sure consumers are protected by removing these risky products
    from the market."

    Companies that fail to stop distribution of dietary supplements that
    contain ephedrine alkaloid products, such as ephedra, Ma huang, Sida
    cordifolia and pinellia, by Monday will face any number of FDA
    enforcement possibilities, including "seizure of the product,
    injunction against the manufacturers and distributors of such products
    and criminal prosecution."

    The rule does not include traditional Chinese herbal remedies and
    generally does not apply to products like herbal teas that are
    regulated as conventional foods.

    In recent years, ephedrine has been used as a key ingredient in
    methamphetamine production, but it is usually extracted from cold
    medicines. When it is chemically synthesized, it is regulated as a
    drug. Under law, drug companies that produce products like cold
    medicine containing ephedrine must prove to the FDA that its product
    is safe for consumers before it can be marketed.

    John Evans, 4th Judicial Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force director,
    said in January he didn't feel the ban would have any effect on meth
    production in Tennessee.

    Meth cooks have not been known to extract the chemical from dietary
    supplements, according to Evans.

    For more information about ephedra and the FDA ban, visit www.fda.gov
    or call 1-888-INFO-FDA.

Comments

  1. OneDiaDem
    Where there is will, there is way. It wont stop meth labs. It will just cause them to redefine their recipe's.
  2. Gerard
    the ephedra ban won't affect them at all, as cooks use the psuedoephedrine from cold/flu tabs and the new ban has no effect on these
  3. Alfa
    POLK METH LABS DROP AFTER EPHEDRA BAN

    LAKELAND -- For 10 years, methamphetamine-related shootings and
    overdoses have plagued Polk County.

    Many of the problems originate in makeshift labs inside homes or in
    the backs of cars.

    But law enforcement officials say since the ban of ephedra earlier
    this year, cooking the crank has become harder for makers of the drug
    and may be one of the reasons fewer meth labs have been busted this
    year.

    In 2003, 14 labs were found in Polk County, according to the Drug
    Enforcement Agency. So far this year, detectives have found two.

    Ephedra, the popular diet supplement seen in convenience stores, is an
    ingredient used by those who manufacture methamphetamine. It has long
    been used as an addition to the mix so dealers can increase their profits.

    "Ephedra is a main ingredient in methamphetamine," said sheriff's Maj.
    W.J. Martin. "It's harder and harder for them (dealers) to come by."

    Decongestants and other medicines contain ephedrine and
    pseudoephedrine, synthetic versions of ephedra. The medicines are not
    affected by the ban.

    Some methamphetamine makers now go to local drug and food stores, buy
    the medicines, then cook the methamphetamine.

    But the tablets aren't as pure as ephedra and the makers need hundreds
    of pills to make large quantities of the drug.

    Area drug store employees have been put on alert if a customer buys a
    large amount of cold pills like Sudafed.

    Detectives begin an investigation into the purchase if they determine
    it is suspicious, law enforcement officials said.

    Methamphetamine is a stimulant, created in makeshift labs, through a
    chemical process detectives call "cooking."

    It's a souped-up version of the older stimulant amphetamine, long
    known as speed. Depending on its purity, the final product can range
    in texture and color from rust-colored chunks to a granular, off-white
    powder.

    Local police mostly see the powdered form. A gram, which provides five
    to 10 hits, costs from $70 to $100, according to drug detectives.

    Despite the drop in labs, the county's methamphetamine problem has
    remained fairly steady the past several years.

    Most of the methamphetamine used in Polk is manufactured outside the
    county and brought in from Mexico and Texas, detectives said.

    But Martin said Polk County has improved its image. He said the
    Panhandle now has the majority of the state's labs.

    "We still have a meth problem, but I wouldn't say we are the capital,"
    Martin said.
  4. Alfa
    I would be very interested in your critisism on this article.
  5. slasher638
    lol i live and polk county and i still havent seen a decrease in tweakers or there product
  6. Alfa
    LOCAL STORES SCRAMBLE TO PULL METH-MAKING COLD MEDS


    Tennessee retailers rushing to beat a 24-hour deadline and avoid possible $2,500 fines cleared store shelves Thursday of cold and allergy products used to make methamphetamine.


    A new state law aimed at drug abusers who cook the addictive stimulant put all tablets containing pseudoephedrine behind pharmacy counters, where quantities are limited and purchases require a signature and ID.


    " ... We took all of the cold medicines that contained ephedrine or pseudoepehedrine off of the shelves as required by law," said Jeff Benedict, president of Appalachian Oil, the company that runs Appco convenience stores in the Tri-Cities region. "Medicines containing those substances in a gelcap or a liquid form will remain, because apparently you can't make meth out of those."


    Gov. Phil Bredesen signed the measure, including the 24-hour deadline for retailers, Wednesday after it made a quick run through the General Assembly. Retailers had until noon EST Thursday to rid their shelves of the cold tablets.


    The law puts Tennessee among a handful of states with such restrictive laws on pseudoephedrine, a decongestant.


    In 2003, Tennessee led the nation in government spending to clean up the clandestine labs where meth is typically made by cooking common chemicals, matchbook striker plates and pseudoephedrine tablets.


    Cooking the drug creates toxic, sickening vapors. The state has taken hundreds of children from parents who exposed them to so-called labs, which also have caused burn injuries and deaths.


    Will Pinkston, a Bredesen aide who worked as liaison to the governor's meth task force that developed the law, said reports Thursday showed retailers were complying with the deadline. He said law enforcement officials were not planning any immediate crackdown.


    Benedict said the medicines that were removed from his shelves will be reclaimed by the distributors when they come to restock the shelves with gelcap and liquid alternatives.


    Ben Scharfstein, owner of One Stop Convenience Store, 1912 S. Roan St., said very few items had to be pulled from shelves and placed behind the counter.


    While it wasn't much hassle, Scharfstein said he was extremely disappointed in the state's lack of notification to retailers.


    "I just read about it in the paper this morning," he said, noting that his supplier called soon after to tell them to take the applicable products off the shelves. "That is not a professional way of doing this. This is the first time in 25 years I've seen anything like it."


    Benedict's experience was similar.


    "I had known for a week that it was working its way through the Legislature, but it was only (Wednesday) that I found out that it had actually been signed by the governor and that the deadline would be this morning," he said. "There has been no government communication to us of any kind. We just had to pick it up through the media and through people who are watching legislation for us in Nashville."


    Still, Benedict believes the legislation was a good idea.


    "We fully support Governor Bredesen's efforts to reduce the number of meth labs in Tennessee, even though it means that, at least for some period of time, we'll be doing less business," he said.


    Unlike the 24-hour deadline for retailers, pharmacies have 30 days to move the restricted cold medicines behind the counter.


    Violations of the deadlines are punishable as Class A misdemeanors, which carry a maximum possible $2,500 fine.


    A legislative sponsor of the meth law, Rep. Charles Curtiss, D-Sparta, said the deadline for retailers was "tight" for a reason.


    "There are some retailers here supplying these drug-makers with the products," Curtiss said. "We've got some people, that was their last chance to make a big deal."
  7. Alfa
    LIMITS ON EPHEDRINE PILL SALE NOW LAW


    Measure to foil meth makers is signed by Riley


    MONTGOMERY - Alabama just made it harder for drug dealers to buy a primary ingredient in homemade crystal methamphetamine.


    Starting July 1, legislation signed Tuesday by Gov. Bob Riley requires that the tablets in which ephedrine or pseudoephedrine is the sole active ingredient must be kept behind the counter or in a locked display case in stores statewide. Anyone wanting to purchase the tablets will have to present identification and sign for the medication. Only two packages can be purchased at a time.


    Tablets that contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine with other active ingredients will either have to be behind the counter, in a locked case or under constant video surveillance. Purchasers won't have to show an ID or sign for these.


    "Alabama is in the midst of a man-made epidemic, one that is ripping apart our communities and small towns, destroying lives and is dreadfully easy to spread," said Riley. "The spread of this epidemic won't be stemmed until the ingredients to make it become harder to get."


    The bill was sponsored by Rep. Frank McDaniel, D-Albertville, and Sen.


    Lowell Barron, D-Fyffe.


    "We need to give our law enforcement every tool we can to fight this battle," McDaniel said.


    Other states including Georgia and Tennessee have passed similar laws to curb the manufacturing of methamphetamine.


    The making of methamphetamine has been on the rise in Alabama in the last few years. This year, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration is expected to clean up more than 600 meth labs in the state.


    The new law does not include the gel or liquid forms of pseudoephedrine because it is much harder for meth makers to break those down as opposed to the tablets.


    "These are not the most sophisticated folks," Barron, a pharmacist, said.
  8. Cure20
    Source: Daily Advance, The (NC)
    Copyright: 2005sCox Newspapers, Inc.



    If proposed state legislation prohibiting the sale of medications containing the drugs ephedrine and pseudoephedrine becomes law, it could affect the price of cold medicine presently sold on local pharmacy shelves.

    The reason for the legislation? Methamphetamine, which makes its way through illegal street drug trade under the names "meth," "speed," and "crank," can be derived by breaking down ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, which is found in certain cold medicines.

    Ephedrine also can be chemically broken down by mixing it with other readily available chemicals and used to create methamphetamine.

    Once created -- often in illegal drug labs operating out of private homes - -- meth is an addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system and in high doses can cause hallucinations, paranoia and extreme rage. An overdose can cause convulsions and death.

    Because ephedrine hydrochloride, or Chinese ephedra, is used in sinus medication such as Suphedrine and NyQuil and diet supplements like Metabolife and Advocare, the legislation has the potential to affect more people than just drug users and drug dealers.

    Under the proposed legislation, customers wishing to purchase these common medications -- harmless when used properly for medicinal purposes -- would be required to show photo identification to purchase cold tablets containing pseudoephedrine.

    Purchases would be limited to no more than 9 grams of pseudoephedrine within a 30-day period without a prescription. Liquid and gel products would not be restricted since they are not commonly used to produce meth in North Carolina, however.

    David Work, executive director of the North Carolina Pharmacy Board in Chapel Hill, believes the prices of cold medicine definitely will be affected if the legislation becomes law.

    "It will affect the price as well as the accessibility since it will be behind the counter," Work said. "Law enforcement is making a big push to get this through, and politically, ( the new law ) has a lot of traction with the state House of Representatives, so something's going to happen with it."

    At least one local pharmacy owner said that he is not sure how the legislation will affect prices. But prices could be affected if pharmacies are required to keep the medicines behind the counter, William Owens, co-owner of Todd's Pharmacy, said.

    "We haven't had anything in writing from the FDA that has told us to keep stuff behind the counter," Owens said. "If it happens, though, it may affect what the manufacturer charges for ( cold medicine )."

    The steps for creating meth can be found easily on the Internet, which is part of the problem, said Noelle Talley, spokeswoman for the N.C. Attorney General's Office. Her boss, Attorney General Roy Cooper, is the driving force behind the proposed new law.

    "That's the real danger," Talley said. "Meth can be made in people's houses and the chemicals used are very toxic and can explode. It can affect children who live in the homes as well." She said children can breathe the toxic fumes or be injured from chemical explosions. As many as 124 children were found living in North Carolina homes used as illegal meth labs in 2004.

    In 1999, the first year that meth labs were reported in North Carolina, SBI agents discovered nine labs. Since then, the number has skyrocketed, with agents shutting down 322 labs in 2004 and more than 223 so far this year.

    Capt. Frank Koch of the Elizabeth City Police Department said meth busts are rare in Elizabeth City.

    "We've made a couple of arrests for methamphetamines in the area over the last couple of years," Koch said. "It hasn't got that prevalent here yet, but it's starting to come into the area. We haven't dismantled any labs. We have sent some of our officers to a school sponsored by the state that deals with" met labs.

    Emily Walker, a pharmacist for the Wal-Mart pharmacy, said the store keeps medicines such as Suphedrine behind the counter and will sell no more than two packages to any one customer. She said the problem is out of control in many cities, however.

    "I have a friend who is a firefighter in Portsmouth ( Va. ) and they have to do special training for meth labs," she said. "He said they couldn't believe how many boxes of cold medicines from China they would find in these labs."

    The President's Office of National Drug Control Policy said that in 2002, meth use remained highest in the western and southwestern U.S., as well as in Hawaii. Though use is low in the southeast, it is a growing problem, Talley said.

    "We don't have the problem here that some states do which have thousands and thousands of labs, but it's on the rise," she said.

    Laws restricting the sale of cold medicines containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine which have already been put in place have had a huge effect in many states, Talley said.

    "The first state to pass the new law was Oklahoma, which has seen an 80 percent drop in meth labs since that time," she said. "Tennessee unanimously approved a law patterned after Oklahoma's in April and has since seen a 39 percent decline in meth lab seizures. In Iowa, where a similar law took effect last month, the number of meth labs is already down by as much as 75 percent."
  9. Cure20
    Instead of waiting for a law telling him to do so, a Surrey pharmacist has decided to keep all drugs containing meth-making ingredients behind the counter.

    "I thought I would rather be proactive because bureaucrats take a long time to get things going," said Dinesh Chowhan, owner of a Surrey Pharmasave.

    Chowhan's customers have to ask staff for medications containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, key precursors in the manufacture of methamphetamine.
  10. Cure20
    North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley signed into law a bill last week that will move popular cold medicines such as Sudafed off retail aisles and behind the pharmacy counters beginning next year -- in an attempt to curtail the manufacture of methamphetamine.

    Tonya Cable, front manager at Boone Drug New Market Centre, stocks Sudafed on the shelves Wednesday. Photo by Mark Mitchell But the bill, modeled after a law passed by Oklahoma legislators in April 2004, has received criticism from retailers for punishing legitimate consumers while leaving meth users largely untouched. Dr. David Work, executive director of North Carolina Board of Pharmacy, said the new law will add red tape to the daily duties of pharmacists, but was unequivocal when asked if the restrictions would slow criminals. "No. It's going to make things more difficult for the pharmacists," he said. "They put all these legal hoops out there for the pharmacists and legitimate customers to jump through. They can get this drug in the mail so easily; I can't see how this law is going to affect the illegal users much at all."

    Beginning Jan. 15, customers will be required to show a photo ID, be at least 18 years old, and sign a log to purchase tablets containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, a decongestant used in the nearly 100 cold medicines currently available on the market.

    Individuals will also need a prescription to buy more than two packages in one purchase, or three in any 30-day period.

    Retailers who violate the rules can be fined $500 for a first offense. Stores without pharmacies will not be allowed to sell the restricted drugs at all.

    Boone Drug, Inc. co-owner Johnny Stacy said he was awaiting word from the Board of Pharmacy before putting controls in place at the company's 11 locations.

    "We haven't seen the law in its final form yet," Stacy said. "We haven't heard from the Board of Pharmacy. We have to decide what's going to work best and what's required."

    Work said the board would be communicating soon with its member pharmacies. "We'll be sending an e-mail out to all the pharmacists in the state advising them of the new rules."

    Fran Preston, president of the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association, has said she will press state officials to make training guidelines available to affected merchants within a month. The new state law does not affect the availability of gel or liquid capsules. Liquid forms of the medicines are more difficult to convert to meth than the tablets, which use a relatively simple process to dissolve the powder binding agent.

    Stacy said there is no appreciable difference between the liquid cold medicines and those in tablet form.

    If North Carolina retailers remain skeptical of the law's effectiveness, Oklahomans have had a year and a half to assess the successes and failures of the new restrictions, which have become a model for a growing number of states looking for a way to stem the growth of clandestine meth labs around the country.

    Nationwide, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration ( DEA ) seized 9,797 meth labs last year compared with 162 in 1995.

    The National Association of Counties released a survey this summer of 500 law-enforcement agencies and found that 87 percent reported an increase in meth-related arrests in the past three years. Sixty percent of county sheriffs said meth is now their main drug problem, linking it to increases in robberies, domestic violence, assaults, identity thefts, and child neglect.

    Oklahoma has seen an 80 percent reduction in clandestine labs and precursor chemical dump sites -- from an average of 105 to 19 per month -- since enacting the new rules.

    A DEA spokesman has said it would wait to see if the numbers stabilize before making any recommendations to the Bush administration, which has placed marijuana at the top of its drug-war priorities. Watauga County Sheriff Mark Shook was pleased North Carolina had followed the lead of states like Oklahoma, calling the restrictions "a tried and true law" likely to make it harder on illicit cooks. "I think it's great. It's been needed for awhile and we've been going down to Raleigh trying to get it passed," Shook said. Shook has been a leading advocate for tougher sentencing and beefed up enforcement against meth producers since his election in 2002. His efforts, and those of the Northwestern North Carolina Methamphetamine Task Force he helped create in 2004, have contributed to Watauga County's transformation from worst meth record in the state to most improved. With three months left in the year, Shook said law enforcement has found only 13 clandestine labs or dump sites in the county so far. During the past two years the county accounted for 43 labs and dumpsites -- tops in the state for 2003 and good enough for third last year. And much of the meth-making activity has been isolated to two areas of the county, Shook said, adding that the decreased activity has freed his officers to concentrate on other areas of drug enforcement. "We've been able to look at other sources of meth, like trafficking," Shook said. "We're also getting more tips on crack cocaine, cocaine, and marijuana."

    Though concern for meth abuse has been rising in recent years, meth users are still outnumbered by those of marijuana, cocaine and heroin. A great deal of that concern comes from the proliferation of mom-and-pop drug labs which use common but volatile and highly toxic household chemicals endangering children, neighbors, law enforcement officers, emergency responders such as firefighters and paramedics, and the meth cooks themselves.
  11. Abrad
    Some pharmacies lock up sinus drugs

    http://www.boston.com/business/healthcare/articles/2006/05/07/some_pharmacies_lock_up_sinus_drugs/
    By Ridgely Ochs, Newsday | May 7, 2006

    MELVILLE, N.Y. -- Don't be surprised if buying over-the-counter medication for your sinus headache is now, well, a pain.

    As of April 8, a federal law limits the sale of such over-the-counter cough and sinus products as Sudafed and Claritin D with pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, or phenylpropanolamine. These ingredients can be used to make the toxic and addictive drug methamphetamine.

    But some pharmacists have begun instituting a second part of the law, which says that as of Sept. 30, they must keep the products locked up or behind the counter. Anyone purchasing them also will be required to provide photo identification and sign a logbook.

    Bruce Scheinson, who co-owns a pharmacy, said he has placed the products behind the counter in advance of the Sept. 30 deadline. But he is angry about the law. In fact, he said, once the products are gone, he will sell them no more.

    Those who have already confronted the new system apparently are not thrilled. On April 8, CVS Corp. of Woonsocket, R.I., required its pharmacies to institute every aspect of the law, placing the medicines behind the counter and requiring customers to show ID and sign a log.

    But CVS spokesman Mike DeAngelis said the chain decided to keep the products behind the counter, yet discontinue checking IDs and requiring customers to sign a logbook.

    The reason? ''Customer feedback," DeAngelis said. Customers, especially in the Northeast, need to be educated about the change, he said. Moreover, he said, he expected that by September many of the medicines with the restricted ingredients, which number in the hundreds, will have been reformulated. Pfizer, maker of Sudafed, has already come out with a Sudafed that contains no pseudoephedrine.
  12. Abrad
    Allergy relief goes behind counters

    http://www.newsday.com/news/health/ny-lidrug064731549may06,0,4010276.story?coll=ny-health-print
    BY RIDGELY OCHS
    STAFF WRITER; Staff writer Mike Koehler contributed to this story.

    May 6, 2006

    Don't be surprised if buying over-the-counter medication for your sinus headache is now, well, a pain.

    On April 8, federal law began limiting the sale of over-the-counter cough and sinus products such as Sudafed and Claritin D with pseudoephedrine, ephedrine or phenylpropanolamine. These ingredients can be used illegally to make the addictive drug methamphetamine.

    But some pharmacists have begun instituting a second part of the law, which says that as of Sept. 30, they must keep the products locked up or behind the counter and anyone purchasing them will be required to provide a photo identification and sign a logbook.

    "I think it's silly," said Don Cantalino, owner of Uniondale Chemists. "What's to stop someone from going to 12 different stores" to buy the products? Nevertheless, Cantalino said he has pulled the products off the shelves and is keeping them in a glass showcase.

    Bruce Scheinson, co-owner of Centereach Pharmacy and Surgical Supply and president of the Long Island Pharmacists Society, said he has placed the products behind the counter in advance of the Sept. 30 deadline. But, like Cantalino, he is angry about the law. In fact, he said, once the products are gone, he will sell them no more. "It's not worth it," he said.

    Ray Macioci, pharmacist at Pilgrim Pharmacy in the Bronx, said the new law is "useless."

    Those who have already confronted the new system apparently are not thrilled. On April 8, CVS Corp. of Woonsocket, R.I., required its pharmacies to institute all of the law, placing the medicines behind the counter and requiring customers to show ID and sign a log.

    But CVS spokesman Mike DeAngelis said the chain, which has 100 pharmacies in New York City and 114 on Long Island, decided last week to keep the products behind the counter yet discontinue checking IDs and requiring customers to sign a logbook.

    The reason? "Customer feedback," DeAngelis said. Moreover, he said he expected that by September many of the medicines with the restricted ingredients - which number in the hundreds - will have been reformulated. In fact, Pfizer has already come out with new Sudafed that contains no pseudoephedrine, a nasal decongestant.

    Customers interviewed Friday seemed mostly resigned if a little peeved by the new law. Said Sheauwei Pidd, 21, of Northport, outside the CVS in Northport: "Considering that this is a bad [allergy] season, I think it's really bad timing."

    Grocery stores and convenience stores also must comply with the law. Stop & Shop, which has 79 stores in the state, is selling "straight pseudoephedrine" - such as Sudafed - behind the counter while products with multiple ingredients are still on the shelves, said spokesman Robert Keane.

    The law says that a person can buy no more than 3.6 grams per day of products with pseudoephedrine, ephedrine or phenylpropanolamine. That translates to 73 60-mg tablets, said Rusty Payne, spokesman for the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.

    Making and using methamphetamine is epidemic in other parts of the country, especially in rural areas, but so far has been a limited problem in New York.

    In 2004, 49 meth labs were found in New York, compared with 2,807 in Missouri, Payne said.

    Staff writer Mike Koehler contributed to this story.

    Drugs under lock and key

    A partial list of over-the-counter drugs subject to a new law designed to restrict methamphetamine production. Most below contain pseudoephedrine, ephedrine or phenylpropanolamine.

    Advil Cold and Sinus

    Aleve Cold and Sinus

    Children's Tylenol Plus

    Mucinex D

    Rite-Aid Cold and Sinus Relief

    Rite-Aid Ibuprofen Cold and SinusRite Aid Suphedrine

    Sudafed 12-Hour

    Sudafed 24-Hour

    Tylenol Cold

    Tylenol Sinus
  13. Nagognog2
    Buying cold remedies nothing to sneeze at

    Published: Monday, September 25, 2006


    Buying your favorite cold medicine is about to become a surreal experience in Vermont. In some stores, it already is.

    When you walk into a pharmacy in downtown Burlington -- say, Lakeside or Brooks -- in search of plain old, over-the-counter Sudafed, it's not on the shelf, where it used to be. You have to ask for it. Then, you have to show a photo ID, and then, you have to sign a logbook, which details your address and the quantity you're buying.

    In an era when you have to go through a similar screening before you walk into a courthouse or onto an airplane, the new cold-medicine routine might not seem so bizarre -- except that it has nothing to do with terrorism.

    It has to do, in Vermont, with staving off an epidemic that has swept through the Midwest and has been lapping at New England's borders for several years: methamphetamine addiction.

    Beginning Saturday, when the federal Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act goes into effect, every retailer in the nation that sells certain cold medicines will have to follow the same restrictions Lakeside and Brooks have imposed. A parallel Vermont law, enacted last spring, also takes effect Saturday.

    By restricting the sale of many standard cold medicines, Vermont is ahead of the curve in a region where meth has not become widespread. The new laws are a pre-emptive effort -- or, as State Police Detective Trooper Mike Smith puts it, "a substantial preventative measure to keep the meth problem at bay."

    Nationally, the meth problem is fed by clandestine, illegal labs that produce the drug using common decongestants that contain "precursor" substances: ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and phenylpropanolamine.

    "These are the key ingredients," Smith said. "Without them, you can't make meth."

    The intent behind the new laws is to prevent people from buying massive quantities of these otherwise innocuous pills for use in meth labs. The daily limit for the total of the three listed substances that may be sold to one person is 3.6 grams. For Sudafed "Maximum Strength" Nasal Decongestant, that translates to 146 tablets of the 30 milligram size.

    These "precursor" laws, Smith said, were inspired by a similar law in Oklahoma, passed in 2004, that led to a dramatic decline in the number of meth labs seized.

    The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration publishes a national map showing the number of "Clandestine Laboratory Incidents" -- seized labs, chemical and glassware seizures and dump sites. The national total for 2005 was 12,139, of which 2,170 were in Missouri. Just 15 were in New England, and one in Vermont.

    That one comprised three cooking sites, where meth was being made, Smith said.

    Nevertheless, a Vermont Health Department fact sheet states that meth "is not yet considered a major threat in Vermont."

    Retail impact

    Last week, the Vermont Department of Health mailed out 1,415 informational packets on the new laws aimed at reaching every retailer in the state believed to sell cold medicine -- pharmacies, supermarkets, general and convenience stores, among others.

    Some retailers have adopted the new restrictions, moving the medicines with pseudoephedrine behind the counter. Lakeside Pharmacy, for example, pulled 30 to 40 different packages off the shelf, owner Earl Pease said.

    Other retailers, including convenience store managers who had yet to receive or read the packets, still had the medicines on the shelf.

    Still other retailers, who were well aware of the new laws' requirements, were conducting business as usual and waiting until Sept. 30 to make the changes.

    Among them was Jim Marmar, manager of the Woodstock Pharmacy. One impact he foresees is the additional time required to implement the laws, in training staff and maintaining logbooks. The federal law mandates staff training on how to comply; the state law mandates an educational campaign by the Health Department.

    Jim Harrison of the Vermont Grocers Association said some of his members had decided to discontinue the listed products. Among them is Steven Clayton, owner of the Shelburne Supermarket.

    "We're not going to sell it," Clayton said of the restricted cold medicine. "We already do enough paperwork."

    Besides, he said, "we've got a Brooks next door, so we can send people there. They'll be happy; we'll be happy."

    Clayton's store will still carry cold medicines not covered by the law, however. These new products have begun appearing on shelves in the last few months, many carrying the label "New Formula" or the disclaimer, "Does not contain pseudoephedrine." Their active ingredient is phenylephrine, which cannot be used to make meth.

    Some of the "new formula" remedies are more expensive. A spot survey of four Burlington pharmacies last week showed the Sudafed PE, the product containing phenylephrine that's on the shelf, cost 25 percent or more per dose than original Sudafed, which contains pseudoephedrine and is kept behind the counter.

    A phone call to the public relations representative of Pfizer, Sudafed's maker, was not returned.

    Marmar speculated that some customers might be averse to having to show a passport or driver's license, or sign a logbook, and would avoid all that by having their doctors write prescriptions for the listed remedies.

    Lynne Vezina, owner of Vermont Family Pharmacy on North Avenue, said she had put the listed medicines behind the counter but was not requiring signatures. She called the new regulations "just another thing to add to your many burdens."

    She added: "I'd rather do this than not do it." She said she was willing to do anything deemed necessary "to prevent meth from becoming a problem."

    Police support


    As retailers express mixed feelings about the bureaucratic requirement, some law enforcement officers are all for it.

    Burlington Police Lt. Rich Long said the fact that the city has not had a meth problem strikes some of his out-of-state colleagues as remarkable. He said the Burlington department has hired several officers from the Midwest over the last few years and that "one thing they marvel about is that we don't have the meth problem."

    As for the new restrictions, Long said: "I'm glad to see that this is taking place before it becomes a problem."

    Statewide, arrests for possession or selling of meth totaled eight in 2003. The figure rose to 32 in 2004 and dropped to nine the following year.

    Smith credits the decline in part to an awareness campaign that began more than two years ago, a collaboration of state agencies to educate first-responders and others. The warning signs of meth activity are more widely known as a result, he said.

    "We get tips now," Smith said, "where we weren't getting tips before."
  14. Riconoen {UGC}
    Already happpened in good old nevada, here psuedoephedrine products are all behind the counter and in some places like wal mart they card you for it as well. And the new sudafed just sucks ass, I want my psuedoephedrine so my nose will be cleared up dammit.

    That's another skirmish lost in the war on drugs......
  15. izzy31
    Most meth is made outside of the country now, and only 20% of all meth in the USA was made in the country itself. It mainly comes from Mexico, where it's not any problem finding the ingredients and is of higher quality than a mom and pop lab because they're given as much space, time, and supplies they need.
  16. old hippie 56
    It is getting that way down Mexico way, DEA graduated 100 Mexicans cops from their school the other day. Plus they are helping the government cut back on the shipments of needed percursors from overseas.
  17. allyourbase
    this is not prohibition. its centralization. I lived in OK when the first of these laws went into effect. what happened there will happen around the country. the heads will act together all forming around the best available cook and getting him supplies. that way they raid the third parties house, nothing is found, except perhaps their boon for the ingredient. 3.5 grams a day isnt that much for a single person, but when 20-30 people are all bringing in that amount to a single source regularly it makes these limitations defunct.
  18. Paracelsus
    If they are thinking that they could lower meth production in an efficient way using these laws, they are fking stupid pigs.

    Considering that only 20% of all methamphetamine sold on US ground comes from labs on US territory (like swizzy said), I would think that maybe a third of this (6.6%) is made low-profile from otc medicine like sudafed. So, if they enforce these laws in all states, which is possible but not very likely, they could reduce the total amount of meth sold on US ground by 6%.

    Imo 6% is a very small amount, even from an anti-drug perspective, considering the thousands of honest citizens that cant get their sudafed anymore.

    The US tried to restrict many common products like lithium batteries, because lithium can be used for cooking meth, and all the other stuff that is controlled because 1% of all the ppl that buy those would consider using them to cook meth. And now, they're restricting the main precursor, ephedrine. JEEEEZ.

    Where SWIM lives, ephedrine is on prescription and is hardly available. And this in a country where you can get almost ANY prescription medicine in almost ANY pharmacy (as long its not cocaine or fentanyl :D )

    My imaginary friend Dan will try to get some in the next couple of weeks (for a fictional Methcat synth), and the good thing is, IF Dan can get some, it comes as an injectable solution in dH2O. So purity and extraction should not be a problem....:D


    .
  19. Nagognog2
    I, for one, wouldn't want some ding-dong trying to cook up a batch of meth, from some internet cookbook, next door or downstairs from my home. They'd be lucky if the cops got to them first.
  20. katukulysm
    heh..swim lives in missouri, we where the capital number one methamphetamine makers in the us ( but that was hella long time ago ). your only allowed 2 boxs of anything that contains pseudoephedrine or ephedrine or practicly anything that can be used to make methamphetamines now. lye is a bitch to get, muritic acid is hard to find but its here. acetone is the easyiest, and sudaphed and ephed containing medicens they'll make you give them your whole life story to get it! but theres people way smarter than the law.....
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