Inroads are being made in the fight against homemade methamphetamine, says the Christian Science Monitor. The Rice County, Ks., sheriff says a community awareness campaign has made it almost impossible for local meth lab operators to buy the needed over-the-counter ingredients like cold medicines without getting noticed. Target and other national chain stores like CVS and Rite Aid recently have put all such products behind the counter to make them harder to shoplift. Even major corporations are having an impact. Pfizer, maker of the Sudafed, which contains pseudoephedrine, a key meth ingredient, will make a reformulated version available.
Dozens of states have passed laws limiting the amount of certain products, like Sudafed or Claritin, that can be bought at one time. Others require purchasers to show identification and sign a register to help discourage potential meth producers. The combined efforts are having an impact. Local law-enforcement officials are reporting decreases in the number of meth labs in their communities. National surveys show a slow but steady decrease in usage. At the same time, meth addiction continues to be a major problem in local pockets, in part because in most states, 80 percent of the drug is imported from so-called super labs in places like Mexico. The Consumer Healthcare Products Association, which represents the manufacturers of over-the-counter cold medicines, has been criticized for opposing laws that make the drugs harder to buy. It began sponsoring Meth Watch last year and has made more than $1 million in grants to communities to start their own Meth Watch programs.