Law restricting pseudoephedrine sales now in effect - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Law restricting pseudoephedrine sales now in effect

By Stephen McLamb- bio | email

MARSHALL COUNTY, AL (WAFF)- Meth makers will find it much harder to make the illegal substance in 2011.

That's because a new law goes into effect in Alabama on New Years Day that restricts access to pseudoephedrine.

Fighting meth has been a tough proposition as meth makers seek cold medicines with pseudoephedrine in them. "We had a huge benefit when we first put ephedrine behind the counter," said Marshall County District Attorney Steve Marshall.

That's when meth makers began smurfing. The practice of filling a car then going to different pharmacies and everyone buying the minimum amount. A practice many pharmacies see. "The meth is so bad, and so debilitating to the people that could can almost spot them when they walk in the door," said Bunch Pharmacy owner Buddy Bunch.

The new law, though, sets up a real-time database so when someone buys up to nine grams of cold medicine with pseudoephedrine at one pharmacy then goes to another, they'll be told they can't purchase it.  "That's huge. The ability at the merchant level to keep the product from being in somebody's hands," said Marshall.

Marshall says every pharmacy in the state will be connected to the database, but admits only 70% may be ready by New Years Day.

"We think folks are getting ready. There's still training going on in the state. I think our larger retailers of ephedrine will be prepared," he said.

Meanwhile, Bunch feels it will be effective.  "I think it will help. I think it's probably the best tool we've had up to date," said Bunch.

Prosecutors like Steve Marshall hope all Alabama pharmacies will be online by the spring.

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