As the states surrounding Illinois tightened the reins on sales of pseudoephedrine, the popular cold medicine and ingredient in methamphetamine, Illinois became a magnet for meth producers, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. They flocked across Illinois’ borders, hitting shop after shop on cold-medicine buying road trips, taking advantage of the state’s looser restrictions. Now, Illinois is cracking down. A new law that takes effect Sunday requires cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine, except for small convenience packs, to be kept behind a pharmacy counter. Purchasers must present a photo ID, sign a logbook and are limited to a monthly purchase of 7.5 grams without a prescription. (That is higher than the recommended dosage for a month.) Officials are considering an electronic tracking system.
As proof that the new law should work, officials point to other states where similar restrictions have driven off drug cooks. Meth busts in Missouri fell 43.6 percent from July to December – the period when the state’s new pseudoephedrine law took effect. Officers are quick to admit the law is not a permanent solution and predict upticks in interstate trafficking of methamphetamine – perhaps from so-called superlabs in California and Mexico – or even a street trade in cold pills for local producers. “I think you may see these folks branch out and travel farther to try and get their pills,” said Master Sgt. Bruce Liebe, methamphetamine program coordinator for the Illinois State Police. “It might become like a black market commodity.”