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New law tracks pseudoephedrine sales across state lines

By: Morgan Downing Email
By: Morgan Downing Email

MARSHALL COUNTY, OK -- Law enforcement in several states, including Texas and Oklahoma, are stepping up the fight against methamphetamine. They're joining forces by tracking potential drug abusers across state lines.

Oklahoma pharmacists already check the photo id's of anyone who tries to buy pseudoephedrine. A new law will let them see if the person has meth convictions, or has exceeded their legal purchase limit in several other states as well.

Under Oklahoma law, a person can buy 3.6 grams of pseudoephedrine per 72 hours, or 7.2 grams a month.

Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics spokesperson, Mark Woodward, says that is not stopping meth cooks near state borders.

"Many of the meth cooks live literally within a few miles of a border, and they're doing what's called border jumping. They're hitting their daily limits in one state, but then they go across the border and get some more up there, send multiple cars full of people to do that," Woodward said.

So, January 1st Oklahoma joined 22 other states including Texas, in using the National Precursor Log Exchange, or NPLEx.

"The system's working real good. It's going to work even better now that we're in line with at least 20 other states. So, if they cross the line over into another state and buy pseudoephedrine, or attempt to buy pseudoephedrine, they're going to be stopped," Madill pharmacist, Calvin Harkins said.

When you go into an Oklahoma pharmacy to buy pseudoephedrine, you must give your license to the clerk. He or she enters all your information, which is now sent through the registry that includes all of these states.

If you've reached your limit, you'll be denied. Anyone with a meth conviction will also be denied. But even with the registry, many pharmacies in Durant have their own protocol when it comes to selling the drug.

"Unfortunately methamphetamine is such an issue around here that all the independent pharmacies have gotten together and agreed not to sell it without a prescription at all. So, we don't even use the registry unless it is a prescription we're submitting through," pharmacist Michele Hearn said.

OBN says the state registry alone has blocked about 80,000 sales a year, over the last six years.

"So, that's potentially 80,000 meth labs that have been prevented as a result of this tracking system. And we think it's just going to continue to get better now that we're tied into other states and they'll be blocked in other states as well," Woodward said.

Woodward says the "border jumping" has decreased in other states that have been using the NPLEx system for a while now.


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