Would-be meth manufacturers beware - there's a new program coming to town that will make it much harder to avoid the scrutiny of police when buying the raw materials used to make crystal methaphetamine.
Called Meth Watch, the program's primary goal is to interrupt the access to ingredients such as ephedrine-based cold remedies, paint thinner, iodine, sulfuric or muriatic acid, red phosphorous, ether, acetone kerosene, iodine and lithium batteries.
The program, one of a range of initiatives being undertaken by the recently formed Crystal Meth Victoria Society, will be run by Victoria police Const. Brad Fraser, chair of the organization's enforcement "pillar."
The idea of Meth Watch, said Fraser, is to educate retailers and their employees on how to spot suspicious customers.
"We're going to be building relationships with the business community," Fraser said. "We want to train store owners and their staff to detect unusual purchases."
Despite public pressure, the B.C. government has yet to place formal restrictions on crystal meth ingredients.
But workers who spot suspicious purchases will have the option of refusing to sell the materials or simply completing the transaction and notifying police.
Fraser said police can use a variety of investigative tools to track down the purchasers, including security camera footage and credit card or debit card receipts.
Some major drug store chains such as Shoppers Drug Mart and London Drugs have already agreed to restrict access to ephedrine-based cold medicines, the active ingredient in crystal meth.
Meth Watch will also be working with hardware stores and other outlets that sell chemicals used to process the drug.
Meth Watch, which started in Kansas in the mid-90s and has since has spread up the West Coast and across Canada, will play an important role in a community task force created by the Crystal Meth Victoria Society in conjunction with School District 61.
The community task force will be formally launched at a pair of public meeting scheduled for today ( Wednesday, Sept. 7 ) at the Central Baptists Church auditorium on Pandora Avenue.
The first session runs from 1 to 3 p.m. and the second session goes from 7 to 9 p.m.