House Passes Bill Restricting Drugs Used in Meth Manufacture - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/23/05

House Passes Bill Restricting Drugs Used in Meth Manufacture

Have a cold? If so, there are some things you need to know before hitting your local pharmacy. Yesterday, the Georgia House passed a bill requiring pharmacies to put their popular cold medicines behind the counter.

Most of us have seen the commercials where pharmacists tell their customers to go to aisle five for their Sudafed. Thanks to this new, bill those days may soon be over in Georgia.

It seems every few months, we hear about a major meth lab bust in the Coastal Empire. Crystal meth is becoming the drug of choice for many Georgians.

The reason? Many people can make it in the privacy of their own homes, using products they can easily get their hands on. Products like over-the-counter cold medicines such as Sudafed.

"We do reserve the right to restrict the sale of products," said John Leffler, who has been a pharmacist for 30 years. He's seen his fair share of what he calls suspicious sales of drugs containing pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient in Sudafed and needed to make crystal meth.

"They'll come in like revolving doors and buy it and go to different registers," said Leffler.

That's why state lawmakers have passed the bill requiring drugs like Sudafed and Claritin to be kept behind the counter. And no one will be allowed to buy more than two bottles of the popular cold medicines.

It's a precaution Leffler says he's been taking for the last two years. "I'm not saying anyone who wants more than one bottle is using it for illegal purposes, but it certainly raises flags in most pharmacies."

Flags that Leffler, along with lawmakers, hopes will make it more difficult for these medicines to end up in the wrong hands.

Reported by: Hena Daniels, hdaniels@wtoc.com

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