Pubdate: Fri, 11 Oct 2002
Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Copyright: 2002, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Dan Palmer


New Rules Designed to Curb Use of Methamphetamine

New regulations cracking down on the illicit trade of chemicals to make 
methamphetamine could curb escalating use of it in northern Alberta, say cops.

"There's some good potential for that," Const. Kim Berthiaume of the Fort 
McMurray RCMP drug section said yesterday. "Anything that's going to help 
us get drugs off the street is a good thing."

Regulations requiring people buying, importing, exporting and distributing 
pseudoephedrine and other "precursor" substances to obtain licences and 
permits have made their way through Canada's final legislative hurdles.

The new regulations will come into force in January, Health Minister Anne 
McLellan said yesterday.

Berthiaume said pseudoephedrine can be found in common cold tablets. When 
mixed with the right chemicals and refined with paint thinner or camping 
fuel, it can be turned into methamphetamine, she said.

Methamphetamine is now slowly taking the place of cocaine as the drug of 
choice in Fort McMurray, 437 km northeast of Edmonton, she said.

"It's cheaper and the high is apparently longer," she said, adding the new 
regulation could curb increasing use of the drug in Fort McMurray.

By creating a paper trail for these types of chemicals, the government 
hopes to make it harder for them to fall into the hands of people planning 
to use them for illicit purposes.

"Because there were no controls, possibly there was inventory going missing 
or being diverted or what have you," Health Canada spokesman Andrew Swift said.

"So there just wasn't that kind of a paper trail, for lack of a better 
word, that would show where it's coming from and where it's going."
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