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New Database Tracks Purchase of Meth Ingredient in Real-Time

Medication Drugs

Pharmacies across Missouri now have access to a new, computerized system to tell them whether a customer has reached a legal limit of purchasing pseudoephedrine. Psueudoepehderine is found in many cold medicines; it’s also a key ingredient in making methamphetamine. KSMU’s Jennifer Moore reports on a new database for pharmacies and law enforcement alike.

Here’s how the new database works: Say a customer approaches the counter at a pharmacy, asking for cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine. She’s asked for her photo ID. With the click of a button, pharmacists can now bounce that customer’s name off of the new, multi-state database and find out whether that customer has already bought the legal limit of pseudoephedrine. They can also find out when and where she may have made other purchases of similar drugs.

In Missouri, a buyer can only purchase 3.6 grams of medicine containing pseudoephederine a day—that’s the equivalent of 120 standard tablets. There’s also a limit on how much a person can buy in 30 days’ time.

Governor Jay Nixon was in Springfield at the Greene County Sherriff’s office to talk about the new technology. He described it as a “weapon” in the fight against meth.

The governor said the database is being paid for exclusively by pharmaceutical companies. It was developed by Appriss Inc., a company based in Kentucky.

In 2009, Missouri saw over 1,700 meth lab incidents, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol—that’s by far the highest in the nation.

For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Moore.