Officials credit a tough 2004 Oklahoma law restricting the sale of cold tablets for a dramatic decrease in methamphetamine lab seizures, says Stateline.org. Some parts of the state have seen an 80 percent drop in the past year. There may be a greater decline when the neighboring states of Arkansas and Missouri implement their own measures to crack down on the highly addictive street drug also known as “ice,” “crank,” or “poor man’s cocaine.”
Shoppers in Oklahoma are limited in how many packets of the medication containing pseudoephedrine they can buy at one time and must show ID and sign for the tablets. This year Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee approved laws making it harder to buy medications containing pseudoephedrine; Arkansas and Oregon acted last year. In all, 42 states have expressed interest in the Oklahoma measure. Oklahoma estimated that an average meth case costs $350,000, including $54,000 to treat the meth user, $12,000 in child welfare services and $3,500 to decontaminate the area. One item on Oklahoma’s meth hit list is “smurfing,” the practice of going from store to store buying hundreds or even thousands of tablets at a time. The state hopes by summer’s end to have an electronic database that tracks pseudoephedrine purchases. This way, a pharmacy will know whether someone just purchased pseudoephedrine from another pharmacy down the street.