Pubdate: Thu, 16 Nov 2006
Source: Appalachian, The (NC Edu)
Copyright: 2006 Appalachian State University
Author: Dylan Clayton


In the midst of this year's cold season, it may prove more difficult 
to buy medicine for sore throats and runny noses.

Consumers must purchase medicines containing pseudoephedrine as a 
regulated over-the-counter drug.

A prescription is not required for purchase of such medicines, 
however, due to state and federal regulations, drugs such as Sudafed, 
Contac and PediaCare must be purchased behind the pharmacy counter.

This precaution exists as a byproduct of methamphetamine use, which 
has increased across the nation and in the Boone area.

Methamphetamine is produced using medicines made from pseudoephedrine 
and household products ranging from rubbing alcohol to farm fertilizer.

Pseudoephedrine most commonly exists in medicines that help relieve 
symptoms of colds, sinus infections, allergies and influenza.

"The law came about in North Carolina the beginning of January 2006," 
information support coordinator for Boone Drugs, Inc. Kimberly A. Cooper said.

After legislation passed concerning the sale of pseudoephedrine, 
pharmacies and stores selling the medicines had to undergo many 
changes and precautions.

"When someone comes in to buy these medicines, we ask for a federal 
or state issued I.D. with a photo. A driver's license will work," 
Cooper said. "We have a log book where we have to check back for the 
last 30 days to make sure they haven't exceeded the legal amount they 
can purchase."

Cooper said the amount of pseudoephedrine medicine a person can buy 
is limited to 3.6 grams a day, 6 grams or two packages in a 24-hour 
period, and 9 grams in 30 days.

At the end of every month, law enforcement gathers the information 
from places where these products are sold.

Appalachian State University's Mary S. Shook Student Health Services 
cut back the number of medications they have available containing 

"The only product we carry that contains [pseudoephedrine] is generic 
Sudafed. In order to purchase that, you have to produce your student 
I.D., we verify that you are 18, and you can only buy two boxes a 
month," pharmacist David J. Neal said. "We carried other medicines 
before the law, but to make things easier for us to keep up with, we 
decided to carry the Sudafed only."

Although pseudoephedrine laws have created additional work, many 
believe the procedures are needed.

"I think it's necessary," university physician Dr. Jay W. Cranston 
said. "There doesn't seem to be another means to stop people from 
getting the ingredients to make meth. There are still people getting 
busted all the time for trying to purchase too much pseudoephedrine."

Cooper agrees the law is effective.

"I don't have any problems with it," she said. "Yes, it takes a 
little longer, but it's fairly necessary. The police seem very 
concerned, and it's my understanding that we have a lot of meth 
producers and users in the area."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Elaine