Pubdate: Wed, 25 May 2005
Source: Huntsville Times (AL)
Copyright: 2005 The Huntsville Times


Measure to foil meth makers is signed by Riley

MONTGOMERY - Alabama just made it harder for drug dealers to buy a primary
ingredient in homemade crystal methamphetamine.

Starting July 1, legislation signed Tuesday by Gov. Bob Riley 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.

"Alabama is in the midst of a man-made epidemic, one that is ripping apart
our communities and small towns, destroying lives and is dreadfully easy to
spread," said Riley. "The spread of this epidemic won't be stemmed until the
ingredients to make it become harder to get."

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Frank McDaniel, D-Albertville, and Sen.
Lowell Barron, D-Fyffe.

"We need to give our law enforcement every tool we can to fight this
battle," McDaniel said.

Other states including Georgia and Tennessee have passed similar laws to
curb the manufacturing of methamphetamine.

The making of methamphetamine has been on the rise in Alabama in the last
few years. This year, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration is
expected to clean up more than 600 meth labs in the state.

The new law does not include the gel or liquid forms of pseudoephedrine
because it is much harder for meth makers to break those down as opposed to
the tablets.

"These are not the most sophisticated folks," Barron, a pharmacist, said. 
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