Pubdate: Tue, 13 Jul 2004
Source: Melfort Journal, The (CN SN)
Copyright: 2004, The Melfort Journal
Author: Colin McGarrigle
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


One of the major problems for police across the country when it comes
to battling crystal meth is the ease in which the drug can be made.

Melfort Journal -- One of the major problems for police across the
country when it comes to battling crystal meth is the ease in which
the drug can be made.

Few household, drug store and hardware items can be concocted to
produce large quantities of the drug with relative ease, which has
prompted some pharmacist groups to take action.

The Alberta and B.C. College of Pharmacists have now moved to control
some of the key substances used in the production of crystal meth -
and Saskatchewan may not be far behind.

Two of the three main ingredients used in meth production -
psuedoephedrine and Iodine crystals are both readily available at any
drug store in Saskatchewan.

Psuedoephedrines can be found in most cold medications, but Sudafed
seems to be a favourite of many meth producers.

The active meth ingredient in Sudafed is extracted through a simple
procedure to form the main powder in the drug.

Iodine crystals can also be found in any pharmacy within Iodine
Tincture, a drug used for horses with hoof problems.

Many of the other ingredients: muriatic acid, acetone and Red Devil
Lye (a powerful drain cleaner) can be found in most hardware stores.
Pharmacists in Alberta and B.C. have chosen to move many medications
with pseudoephedrine and ephedrine behind the prescription counter to
prevent bulk sales of the products used in meth production.

Ray Joubert, Register for the Saskatchewan College of Pharmacists,
said that they are watching actions taken by Alberta and B.C. recently
and will probably follow suit within a few months.

"We are actively considering our position to see what can be done in
Saskatchewan. Part of our delay here is information gathering. We just
want to get a better sense of what the problem is in this province
with the nature and size of it.

"The final decision to how we respond will be made in September when
our governing council meets, but we are actively considering an
interim measure here is Saskatchewan," said Joubert.

Even with drug stores in the western provinces putting the main
ingredients behind the counter, it may have little effect as many
large retail outlets, such as grocery stores, also sell the cold
products containing ephedrine.

Melfort RCMP S/Sgt. Mark van Schie reiterated that the ease of which
the ingredients can be obtained is of some concern. Asked if moving
the ingredients behind the counter in Melfort would help, van Schie
said that it has not been discussed with local pharmacists.

"It couldn't hurt. But generally, the people who are going out to
obtain these products aren't buying in mass quantities from any one
outlet. They'll hit a number of drug stores to get enough quantity to
make their batch to reduce any suspicions that they might come
across," van Schie explained.

Many have said that it would take provincial or federal legislation to
combat the easy access to ingredients.

Melfort MLA Rod Gantefoer questioned Minister of Learning Andrew
Thompson in the legislature recently on what he is doing to combat the
problem in schools.

Thompson said that they had updated their Web site recently with
information on the drug.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin