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More than 36,000 pharmacies have agreed to help restrict sales of pseudoephedrine products used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. They represent nine major drug retailers, including Target, Walgreens, Wal-Mart and Kmart, that will place pseudoephedrine products behind the pharmacy counter and require that they be sold by a licensed pharmacist or pharmacy personnel.
A national pharmaceutical association also has issued pseudoephedrine-sales guidelines for federal legislation much like those in a current bill sponsored by U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Jim Talent, R-Mo.
In 2004, Oklahoma became the first state to restrict the sale of pseudoephedrine products. Meth lab seizures dramatically decreased as a result. Pseudoephedrine is the one ingredient meth-makers have no substitute for.
State Rep. Scott Lipke, R-Jackson, is one of the sponsors of a Missouri bill that would impose similar restrictions on how pseudoephedrine products are sold. Under that bill, now awaiting the governor's signature, convenience stores no longer would be able to sell the products, which include most cold and allergy treatments.
Current Missouri law limits sales of pseudoephedrine products to 3 grams, the equivalent of 100 pills. Possession of more than 24 grams of pseudoephedrine constitutes intent to manufacture meth, a class D felony.
Last year, Missouri led the nation in seizures of meth-making chemicals and equipment with more than 2,700. Let's see what restricting the sale of this essential precursor can do.