Pubdate: Wed, 25 May 2005
Source: Decatur Daily (AL)
Copyright: 2005 The Decatur Daily
Author: Phillip Rawls, Associated Press


MONTGOMERY -- Starting July 1, buying the decongestants ephedrine and
pseudoephedrine will be more difficult for sinus-clogged Alabama consumers.

Gov. Bob Riley signed legislation Tuesday that places restrictions on the
sale of the popular cold medicines to try to stem what he called an epidemic
of methamphetamine production in Alabama. Tablets in which ephedrine and
pseudoephedrine are the sole active ingredients are being used in meth labs
to make the illegal drug.

"There is an epidemic going on in Alabama today, and it's a man-made
epidemic," Riley said at a bill-signing ceremony.

Starting July 1, the legislation requires that the tablets in which
ephedrine or pseudoephedrine is the sole active ingredient must be kept
behind the counter or in a locked display case in stores statewide. Anyone
wanting to purchase the tablets will have to present identification and sign
for the medication. Only two packages can be purchased at a time.

Tablets that contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine with other active
ingredients will either have to be behind the counter, in a locked case or
under constant video surveillance. Purchasers won't have to show an ID or
sign for these.

State Sen. Lowell Barron, a pharmacist who helped guide the bill through the
Senate on the last night of the legislative session May 16, said there are
less restrictions on the combination drugs and there are no restrictions on
the liquid form of the drugs because they are much harder for
methamphetamine manufacturers to break down.

"These are not the most sophisticated folks," Barron, D-Fyffe, said.

Lee County District Attorney Nick Abbett said some methamphetamine comes
into Alabama from Mexico, but most of it is made by users in home labs for
themselves and a few other people. 
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