In a few hours, news reporters in Everett, Wa., purchased enough pseudoephedrine to brew up more than 18 grams of methamphetamine – enough to get nearly two dozen people high and put nearly $1,300 in a drug trafficker’s pocket. The Everett Daily Herald demonstrated the loopholes in the state’s new methamphetamine law by purchasing large quantities of the decongestants used to make the drug.
Ten reporters visited various stores in the area (“smurfing”), buying 20 boxes of the newly regulated cold medicine. The purchase of cold medicines is legal so long as individual purchases are limited to no more than two packages in 24 hours. It’s an open question whether new logbooks designed to record the purchases will identify people who are buying cold medicine for illicit use. Others states have seen a decrease in local meth labs after enacting similar laws, said Susan York of Lead On America, a local anti-meth group. On Tuesday, many people selling cold medicine in Snohomish County didn’t appear to have a clear understanding of the new law and its requirements. That’s probably because the state only began publicizing the rules on Friday.