Combating Michigan’s methamphetamine production

LANSING – An online tracking system has been effective in combating meth production in Michigan by enforcing limits on the amount of the drug’s main ingredient individuals can purchase, said Sen. Jim Marleau, co-sponsor of the new law.

“As is the case in other states with e-tracking, this system in Michigan has proven to be the most effective way to prevent the manufacture of methamphetamine,” said Marleau, R-Lake Orion. “More and more of this devastating drug is being kept off the streets, while people in true need of over-the-counter cold medications are able to purchase them lawfully. I am thrilled with the success of this law.”

In the three months since e-tracking was launched in Michigan, the system has blocked the illegal sale of 42,955 grams of a key methamphetamine ingredient. This means the production of more than 21,000 grams of meth was prevented, with a street value of more than $2.1 million.

Methamphetamine, or meth, is an addictive, illegal drug that is commonly manufactured using ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, which are common ingredients in cold medications.

Public Act 84 of 2011 requires retailers or pharmacies to consult the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx) before selling products containing pseudoephedrine to make sure buyers have not exceeded a set limit. NPLEx is a real-time electronic logging system provided at no cost to taxpayers or retailers and is used only by law enforcement to track sales of over-the-counter cold and allergy medications containing precursors to methamphetamine.

“I am proud to have led the effort to have Michigan join 16 other states using this online system with a proven record in stopping illegal purchases before they are made,” said Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph. “This outstanding news illustrates that we did the right thing to safeguard our communities.”

Pharmacies across the state have been using the program for one to three months. The law went into effect on Jan. 1, but many retailers started using the system in November 2011. During that time, Michigan residents were able to legally buy 567,000 boxes of medicine for their families.

“I sponsored this law because Southwest Michigan has been hit hard by this drug and tracking sales is critical to preventing meth manufacturers from skirting the law by going from store to store buying supplies,” Proos said. “Importantly, e-tracking effectively combats meth production without unfairly impacting a resident’s access to necessary cold medications.”

Pharmacies and retailers that have not yet registered for the system may do so at: www.NPLExsurvey.com.

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