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Lawmakers plan to limit Sudafed sales in an effort to limit meth production

March 14, 2001
By: Maggie Rotermund
State Capital Bureau
Links: SB 608

JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri residents would be able to buy only three packs of cold medicine like Sudafed at a time, if Sen. Anita Yeckel, R-St. Louis County, has her way. Yeckel's bill, an attempt to slow methamphetimine production in Missouri, reviewed by the Senate Crime Committee Wednesday.

The legislation would limit the mass purchasing of cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine, take the larger bottles of cold medicine off the shelf and cap the amount someone can possess at three bottles.

"Since it arrived in Missouri in 1996, this is the worst thing that I've ever seen," Jason Grawlner, a deputy sheriff from Washington County, told the committee. "This bill would help stop production before it starts."

Pseudoephedrine is the only chemical used in cooking meth that can be bought off the shelf. Other chemicals used in meth production are more difficult to get.

"We're not looking to take away Sudafed for medicinal purposes. Three boxes is well over what someone needs for a cold," Yeckel said.

The bill looks to address the legal angle, as law enforcement officials complain that they have little power to stop meth production in the state.

"We sometimes arrest people with 5,000 to 6,000 pills in their car. Citizens come into St. Louis County to buy cold pills for $3.00," said Detective Dave Ryan. "1000 pills equals one ounce of dope or $1500 on the street."

Nancy Bukar, of the National Consumer Healthcare Product Association, cited similar laws in California and Arizona that limit the amount of cold medicine someone can legally possess.

"This bill targets suspicious sales--large purchases of cold medicine in cash. This will stop the problem at the source," Bukar said.

The committee took no immediate action on the bill. Nobody testified against the proposals.