The Department of Health says a new statewide tracking system designed to curb the production of meth in Washington by monitoring over-the-counter purchases of pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine has blocked more than 13,300 sales in the last nine months.
According to the Department of Health, Washington was one of the first states to create such a statewide tracking system - which pharmacies use to collect data from those that purchase the over-the-counter cold medications, like driver's license numbers and the quantity of meds purchased. Real-time information can then be provided to cashiers to make sure those with druggy intentions haven't exceeded the amount of of pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine allowed for purchase. Obviously, law enforcement also has access to the information. The system tracks drug purchases made in other states as well.
The state Department of Health says that since October, when the program kicked off, the number of blocked sales has grown each month. A press release issued today notes that from mid October of last year to the end of July, "the system logged 1,023,929 purchases and blocked the sales of 13,391 meth ingredients - the equivalent of 82 pounds (37,172 grams)."
"Our state was once called 'the poster child for the meth epidemic,' and we're now recognized as a success story," Secretary of Health Mary Selecky is quoted as saying in today's press release. "A decade ago, there were thousands of meth labs and dumps in our state. We can thank community action and legislation, including the new rules that created our tracking system, for turning the tide."
Washington law requires retailers to keep pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine locked up or behind a counter, and also requires the collection of the name and address of the buyer and how much was purchased. In an effort to discourage druggies yet still allow those with colds to have access to medications that help, sales of the aforementioned meth making ingredients are restricted in Washington to 3.6 grams per purchase, and no more than nine grams during a 30-day period.