Pubdate: Sat, 22 Oct 2005
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 Times Colonist
Author: Rob Shaw, Times Colonist
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine - Canada)


Pharmacists from across Canada could draft a countrywide strategy to
battle the rising problem of crystal meth during a meeting in Victoria
this weekend.

Such a consensus would help prevent the abuse of pharmacy products
such as rubbing alcohol, iodine and over-the-counter cold medication
- - just a few of the ingredients bought separately but mixed in a meth
lab to create cheap and addictive crank.

"We want to make sure that the people who are working in our
pharmacies, the pharmacists, technicians, assistants, even employees
stocking shelves and cashiers, know what to look for when they see an
increase in purchase patterns for the ingredients to make crystal
meth," said Marc Kealey, chief executive officer of the Ontario
Pharmacists' Association (OPA).

If pharmacists can better prevent methamphetamine makers from buying
the products they need, they could help attack the country's growing
crystal meth problem at the source, said Kealey.

Crystal meth, which can be smoked, snorted, injected or swallowed, is
cheap to make in bulk and provides a long-lasting high. It also
severely damages the body's nervous system.

Kealey is leading the charge against the drug after his association
released a nine-point plan in August to educate pharmacists,
schoolchildren and the public on its dangers.

He plans to raise the issue and push for a common countrywide
consensus when he and provincial pharmacy association members meet
this weekend in Victoria.

"We know that there's an increase in volume, not only in Victoria, but
in smaller communities around the province in terms of increases in
crystal meth," Kealey said in an interview Friday.

The Crystal Meth Victoria Society held a public meeting Thursday to
announce a three-pronged attack to clamp down on the drug's producers.

As well, many pharmacies in B.C. are already part of Meth Watch, a
North American sticker and decal program to warn buyers that
crystal-meth-inspired shopping trends are monitored.

"But you just can't put a decal on your window and think you've done
your job," said Kealey.

"Part and parcel of that, you have to have a plan and it has to be a
good plan, with good messaging, good followup and strict adherence to
that plan.

"If I leave [Victoria] with that, I'll be a happy man."
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