Meth-makers beware: the feds are keeping a close eye on you

Next time you have a cold, don’t be surprised if you get a bit of scrutiny with your Sudafed. Washington’s board of pharmacy just approved new rules that will make getting any pseudoephedrine product a little more like traveling through airport security.

The good news is that law enforcement will be alerted any time a small cache of pseudoephedrine — the key ingredient in making methamphetamine — is purchased at a local store.

But next time that pounding headache, cough and general feeling of awfulness drags you into Ride Aid or Walgreens, expect to be asked for your driver’s license or ID, which will get scanned into a database.

This concept isn’t too new for Washingtonians — one of meth’s first victims in the country — who’ve already been handing over IDs so they could be catalogued in a paper database for law enforcement to see. The difference now is the federal government’s “Combat Meth Act,” which makes the database electronic — and thus instant.

By October 15, all retailers will have to be using the system and complying with the new rules operating it.

In case you’d like more detail, here’s a press release on the topic, courtesy of the state’s Department of Health:

OLYMPIA — Making methamphetamine (meth) in Washington just got harder thanks to a new, instant, electronic reporting and monitoring system. The Washington State Board of Pharmacy adopted rules for the system that tracks purchases of over-the-counter medications used to make the drug.

Retailers and law enforcement are now learning how to use the system. On October 15, all retailers must comply with the system’s rules and law enforcement can use the information for investigations under the federal Combat Meth Act.

The tracking system, which is in use in many other states, scans photo identification as well as type and amount of product; it provides real-time information showing the cashier if the person buying the medication has exceeded the allowed quantity. Information on the purchase of medication over the legal limits goes instantly to a database available to law enforcement.

Restricting access to drugs used to make meth is a key step to ending illegal meth labs and dumpsites, and to deterring meth abuse and addiction. Controlling access to products containing pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, and phenyloproanolamine will help stop meth makers from buying big quantities of the products while allowing legitimate access to cold, flu, and allergy products.

The state will use the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx), a no-cost system provided to states that want to replace paper sales logs with real-time electronic tracking. Pharmacies, shopkeepers, and other vendors selling these medications will enter sales transactions into the NPLEx system at the time of sale.

5 thoughts on “Meth-makers beware: the feds are keeping a close eye on you

  1. I cant believe people are so stupid as to think this will work, meth no longer comes from homegrown labs anymore(sometimes yes). But everyone knows all the new speed comes from the cartels, you can get Amphetamines in mexico at any one of 10,000 pharmacies(yes they actually have that many pharmacies) in any amount and make speed. How is this fixing the problem at all. All this does is add more paperwork and government control and cost to america and put even more money in the cartels pocket. Once again the pigs and the government are really only looking out for the reelection campaigns and dont give a f@$% about the average citizen such as you or I.

    1. Does it matter,

      Interesting post. Yes, it is true that much of the meth in America is not made here and is being trafficked in from south of the border. It will be interesting to see what strategies the feds will use in curbing that trend.


  2. i read this in the morning before coffee so i can see that my posting was kind of sharp. I stick by what i said but i could always be more polite with my words. But i do thank the writer for responding to my post but not hating on it. Thank you

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