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Discussion in 'Methamphetamine' started by Alfa, Nov 17, 2005.

  1. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

    Reputation Points:
    Jan 14, 2003
    117 y/o from The Netherlands

    It's been less than a month since local Shoppers Drug Mart outlets joined Meth Watch, but at least one local retailer says the program is already having a positive impact.

    "We had a couple of characters in the store who wanted to order four-litre jugs of rubbing alcohol, and said 'no we can't do that',"

    said Brian Martindale, who owns two Shoppers Drug Mart outlets in Victoria.

    "Then they said 'Okay, we'll just take 10 of the smaller bottles' and we said 'we can't do that either.'"

    Meth Watch, which started in Kansas in the mid-90s, is a North America-wide effort to restrict access to meth-making 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, is being run locally by Victoria police Cst. Brad Fraser.

    Local Meth Watch co-ordinators build relationships with the businesses and help store owners train their staff on how to detect unusual purchases.

    The BC government has yet to place formal restrictions on crystal meth ingredients, but workers who spot suspicious purchases have the option of refusing to sell the materials or simply completing the transaction and notifying police.

    Martindale said since joining Meth Watch, the store's rubbing alcohol has been moved behind the sales counter and antihistamines such as Sudafed are displayed within full view of counter staff.

    Officials with London Drugs' head office in Richmond said the pharmacy chain runs an internal meth reduction strategy consisting of education materials posted on the company web site, sales limits on items that can be used to make crystal meth and screening of suspicious customers.

    "They were among the first retail chain to do something back in late 2004, but I couldn't tell you exactly what they do," said national Meth Watch co-ordinator Gerry Harrington.

    Meth Watch also works with hardware stores such as Home Depot and Home Hardware that sell meth-making materials.

    Some chains allow local managers to decide whether they want to participate, while others make that determination out of head office.

    Gary Candy, owner of the Central Saanich Home Hardware outlet, said his store has yet to be contacted by Meth watch.

    "I haven't been approached by anyone with the program, so I'd need to find out what they're asking," Candy said. "I'm in business to sell products but at the same time we have a moral obligation to society - I'd like to know more about it."

    Crystal Meth Victoria is also monitoring crystal meth-related court cases in an effort to determine how crystal meth is influencing crime in the Capital Region.

    The court watch program, as it is known, will collect data on crystal meth-related crimes, track what happens to youth within the justice system and make recommendations on how police and Crown counsel can most effectively respond to crystal meth users in the justice system.

    Both Meth Watch and the Court Watch program are part of a community task force created by the Crystal Meth Victoria Society in conjunction with School District 61. The task force features 12 different committees working in three main areas - education, enforcement and addiction treatment.

    The 12 committees are scheduled to present 90-day action plans to the task force.