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Posted on Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 3:16 p.m.

State aims to thwart meth producers with new regulations on the purchase of cold, allergy medicines

By Juliana Keeping

Residents who purchase medication that contains ingredients used in the production of methamphetamine will have to swipe their driver's licenses at the store counter under a new state law signed by Gov. Rick Snyder today.

The new measure, which will go into effect Jan. 1, applies to individuals who purchase cold and allergy medications that contain ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, the ingredients used as decongestants in the medicines but also to make highly addictive meth.

The measure aims to halt the practice of meth producers who go from pharmacy to pharmacy to buy cold and allergy medicines, said John Proos, R-St. Joseph, the bill's sponsor.

Michigan will become the 15th state to use the National Precursor Log Exchange, the electronic system used by law enforcement and pharmacies to track the purchase of medicines used to make meth.

New legislation will also limit the amount of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine customers can purchase in a single day and in 30 days.

That means individuals who purchase more than what's allowed by law will be stopped by the clerk, Proos said.

Manufacturers of allergy and cold medications will pay for the tracking at no cost to retailers or taxpayers.

Other measures signed today:

  • Ban hallucinogenic drug methylenedioxypyrovalerone, which goes by the street name “bath salt”
  • Make using a fake ID to purchase medicines used to make meth illegal
  • Increase fines to $500 for retailers that fail to keep cold medicines used in meth production locked or behind the pharmacy counter

Juliana Keeping covers general assignment and health and the environment for Reach her at or 734-623-2528. Follow Juliana Keeping on Twitter


Wilford John Presler IV

Sun, Jul 17, 2011 : 6:22 a.m.

The manufacturer of the active ingredient in pseudoephedrine had ALL of their product "diverted" to Mexico earlier this year...This is why there was no legal generic sudafed available for some time... But think about it... a 55 gallon drum goes for 2 million or more on the black market versus around 50K in the legitimate market. Reminds me of Alcohol Prohibition...The producers were hijacking their own trucks....Ah history ...It really does go in repetitive cycles......


Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 1:58 p.m.

I think it's good. But I also am a "chronic Sinusitis" sufferer who has gone from a prescription medication called Guaifed which contained Pseudephedrine & Guaifenesin (Sudafed & Mucinex) to having to purchase these separately & without the help of prescription coverage, not to mention the maximum you are allowed to purchase now of the Pseudephedrine. I was born here in Michigan & have had 2 surgeries on my sinuses & STILL have to use these 2 meds along with others for my allergies & Asthma. But, I also don't want these extremely dangerous Meth Labs anywhere near me or my grandchildren. So we have to buck up & deal with it so the ones using the Pseudephedrine illegally will (allegedly) have the legal action taken against them to shut that mess down. And FYI for anyone with a stuffy nose: Pseudephedrine has less side effects than the P.E. versions, in my case at least. It also actually DOES work to unstuff my sinuses. I tried the P.E. version & it made my heart race like crazy &did NOT decongest me. I have also ran into others like myself that experienced this side effect & worse. Use the real thing. But be ready to have "big brother" watching you doing this as well as other things.


Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 1:40 p.m.

The solution to this problem is 'easy' - it's called the Ambassador Bridge...

Richard Lake

Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 1:30 p.m.

Even Snyder and the legislature can not repeal the law of supply and demand. Some production may shift to other states and Mexico but users will still find their supply. Petitions Are or Will Be Circulating Soon to Recall These Members of the Michigan Legislature: Sen. Randy Richardville Sen. Mike Nofs Sen. Michael L. Green Sen. Judy Emmons Sen. Darwin L. Booher Sen. Tom Casperson Sen. Roger Kahn Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker Rep. Nancy E. Jenkins Rep. Jase Bolger Rep. Al Pscholka Rep. Kurt Damrow Rep. Joel Johnson Rep. Philip N. Potvin And petitions Are Circulating to Recall Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> A petition is circulating also to REPEAL PUBLIC ACT 4 of 2011, &quot;The Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act&quot;. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 5:42 p.m.

Partisan subterfuge. Dems pass stoopid crap when they're in the majority too. It's the system not the players.


Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 1:18 p.m.

So why don't we need to swipe &amp; sign to buy beer, liquor or tobacco products then? This is retarded. Politicians always feel the need to be seen &quot;doing something&quot; (anything!) about social problems no matter how trivial or idiotic. The statement the bureaucrat made about the manufacturers picking up the cost of this program so it won't cost anything is bunk. The cost of the program will be paid by the public who buy these products. TANSTAAFL.

Jimmy McNulty

Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 12:32 p.m.

My wife has allergies. So, CVS had a special on Zyrtec-D, 24 packs 2/$30. I asked the clerk for two since it was such a good price. She said she could only sell me one. I asked her if she saw the irony in the store advertisment, but she did not. I do think it is big brother-ish to record my DL info and have me sign every time I buy this stuff. Who at the store regulates what is done with my private information? Why can I sometimes see the names and signatures of those who've purchased allergy meds before me in plain sight?


Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 5:52 a.m.

Like Urban Sombrero, I purchase for all family members who need Sudafed 12 hour during allergy seasons. I have already been flagged for &quot;over-purchasing&quot;. At the time my daughter was under 18 without a driver's license. We were each only taking one 12 hour tablet per day so we certainly weren't over-medicating, even for one individual. I asked the pharmacy person how that could happen given my amount purchased was less than the directions for one person to take. She suggested we try to get prescriptions for the needed amounts, even though this medication does not require a prescription. Like a criminal, I went to another pharmacy (of a different chain) and bought more there, but now I won't even be able to do that. Thanks MI legislature, for adding this new annoyance to our lives. I assure you we are not running a meth lab; we just have allergies. Will it stop the real criminals? Doubt it. They'll just figure something else out.


Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 2:54 a.m.

FYI - The state already has limits on how much pseudoephedrine can be purchased per transaction and per month. The current restrictions are no more than 3.6 grams of pseudoephedrine can be purchased by any individual within 72 hours and no more than 9 grams of pseudoephedrine per month. Also, the limit is no more than 48 tablets of the 30mg (regular strength Sudafed) can be purchased at one time. So going by the amount of pseudoephedrine contained in each product... Regular strength Sudafed: 30mg pseudoephedrine Advil Cold &amp; Sinus: 30mg pseudoephedrine 12 hour Sudafed: 120mg pseudoephedrine 12 hour Claritin-D or 12 hours Zyrtec-D: 120mg pseudoephedrine 24 hour Claritin-D: 240mg pseudoephedrine the math &amp; figure out what the limits are. Also, most pharmacies already use a MethCheck program, in which a state issued id must be entered to track sales of these products, so I doubt that this legislation would change much from a customer's experience unless you attempt to purchase these items at multiple pharmacies within a short time span. Also, probably would increase the penalties to the pharmacies who don't comply.


Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 2:50 a.m.

Keeping medicine on a leash....a short one.


Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 12:12 a.m.

All the police have to do is to find the meth labs and throw lit road flares through the windows of those places. But nooo, we have to have another load of $nyderian dystopia dropped on our heads via &quot;business management techniques.&quot; I also have an issue with the &quot;expectation&quot; that &quot;clerks&quot; will be stopping what are most likely desperate and dangerous individuals from &quot;buying too much&quot; of anything. Next thing we know, $nyderian Genius will mandate combat training for all &quot;clerks.&quot; Let Rick $nyder go find funding for our schools and our highway infrastructure - THEN we may listen to his expert advice on... controlling cough syrup.

Urban Sombrero

Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 10:18 p.m.

OK, about this &quot;central database&quot;: My &quot;Real&quot; name is Melissa Jones. Yes, Jones is really my last name. And, Melissa, while not Jennifer or Stephanie, is still pretty darned common for people in my age group. I'm willing to bet there are plenty of people in Michigan alone with my name. (Last time I googled it, there were 3 of us in the Ann Arbor area, alone.) How am I to be sure I won't get mixed up with someone else with my name? What if all the Melissa Jones's in Michigan just happen to need Sudafed in the same month? I'm not going to be carted off to jail on an accidental identity mistake, am I?

John B.

Mon, Jul 18, 2011 : 4:49 p.m.

Your middle initial/name would be included, which almost certainly makes you unique. Years ago, I had a local police officer friend call me to say that there was a warrant for my arrest. It turned out that the warrant had not included a middle initial, so the warrant was corrected. However, prior to that point, had I been stopped for any moving violation whatsoever, the State's system would have shown a warrant for my arrest. Can you imagine if that (traffic stop) had occurred in some rural podunk-ville on a Sunday morning? Yikes!

Urban Sombrero

Sun, Jul 17, 2011 : 2:12 a.m.

@Roger Dodger: Good point. I didn't think of that! Whew!

Urban Sombrero

Sun, Jul 17, 2011 : 2:11 a.m.

@Craig Lounsbury: You've given me something to think about. Hmmm....

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 11:49 a.m.

maybe you should just legally change your name to Urban Sombrero. Bet you'd be the only one.


Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 2:13 a.m.

I read some of the documentation and any officer can search by &quot;name, ID number, store, amount, exceedance, address, state, or county&quot;.

Roger Dodger

Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 1:41 a.m.

I imagine your address and license number is also encoded on the magnetic strip on your id. That doesn't make it any less ridiculous though.


Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 10:14 p.m.

A lot of poor people do not have a drivers license...

John B.

Mon, Jul 18, 2011 : 8:01 p.m.

JBK: You are 'notfromaroundhere,' right?


Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 6:41 p.m.

squid: You are correct, I had ment a state issued photo ID. However, some school and work IDs do qualify (a state public university school ID is a state issued id).


Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 2:58 a.m.

ChunkyPastaSauce, Actually it has to be a government issued i.d. School i.d. and work-related i.d. is not permitted to be used for these purchases.


Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 2:02 a.m.

based my comment on &quot;Residents who purchase medication that contains ingredients used in the production of methamphetamine will have to swipe their driver's license...&quot; as stated in the article. Just read the actual law and the above is not true; only a photo id is required.

John B. Knot

Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 10:31 p.m.

Then they can use their government issued ID.


Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 9:52 p.m.

Is this new? I bought one small package of cold medicine at Kroger's this past winter that had pseudoephedrine as an ingredient, and my driver's license was swiped at the time of purchase. Kroger's told me it was state law to do so back in February. How is this different than the law that Snyder signed?

Urban Sombrero

Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 10:08 p.m.

Juliana Keeping responded to an earlier comment that is pretty much the same as yours: &quot;Hello. There's an existing law under which you've got to show ID and sign a logbook to purchase certain cold meds. But that information isn't connected to any central database and hasn't been an effective tool to stop the purchase of over-the-counter meds used for meth production, according to Proos. The e-tracking is supposed to put the information in a central database.&quot;

Dog Guy

Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 9:37 p.m.

Illegal operations will soon be converting meth into sudafed to sell behind the bar at midnight.

Milton Shift

Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 9:28 p.m.

If they succeeded in stopping people from purchasing enough Sudafed to make meth domestically (which they won't - they'll just &quot;smurf&quot; more, where they have large numbers of people go out and buy one box each), then they would import it from China illegally. And if they stopped the illegal importing of pseudoephedrine, it would become exactly like cocaine and heroin, smuggled across the Mexican border as a finished product. This measure will do nothing but harass people who are legitimately sick or suffering from allergies. Like Urban Sombrero said - what if someone has two or three kids sick with bad colds? Can they only buy one box a week for all of them, or whatever the arbitrary limit is?


Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 9:22 p.m.

Great. Another database plus a new &quot;tweaker tax&quot; on sudafed.

Urban Sombrero

Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 8:40 p.m.

This worries me. I have 2 people in my household, besides myself, who have allergies and use this type of medicine fairly frequently, depending on the time of year. If I get cut off, or worse yet, flagged for over use or something I'm going to be furious. I don't mind showing ID, but arbitrary limits are incredibly irritating. Especially considering that the person purchasing this stuff may be doing it not just for themselves. (Seriously, my kids are adult-sized now. Will I be under suspicion for trafficking or something?)

Wilford John Presler IV

Sun, Jul 17, 2011 : 6:12 a.m.

Just pray that they do not think that you &quot;might&quot; be running a lab... Men in black uniforms could come in the night with automatic weapons and murder your entire family on suspicion alone!


Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 8:34 p.m.

&quot;New legislation will also limit the amount of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine customers can purchase in a single day and in 30 days. &quot; And just how much can I purchase? Might be pertinant information for this article. No..... the manufacturers will raise the price of the cold medecine to offset the costs incurred in tracking. And I have to be in a federal database because we can't adequately punish criminals. They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Ben Franklin

Ben Connor Barrie

Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 8:18 p.m.

This will increase clandestine ephedrine and pseudoephedrine trafficking. It will also encourage manufactures to adopt alternative methamphetamine syntheses such as the reductive amination of phenylacetone using methylamine. The end result will likely be a much purer product. Which is good I guess from the point of view of a certain subset of the population.

Macabre Sunset

Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 6:59 a.m.

Yes, we all watched Breaking Bad. The government is far, far behind the criminals here.


Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 8:05 p.m.

I have had to show my license for a while to buy allergy meds. How is this different? Just wondering. As it's no big deal to me.


Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 11:47 p.m.

Walking Joe, it is a biggie. Imagine you live in a household with three or four people who suffer from allergies. Now you will need to suffer or get other people to buy it for you. Why should the government know I have allergies. It is as effective as the silly TSA. It makes people think that they are stopping meth, when in reality they are just allowing companies to sell the data that we have allergies.


Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 10:55 p.m.

Thank you. That answers my question, and as I said it's not a biggy to me as I'm not a meth producer and never going to be.

Juliana Keeping

Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 8:29 p.m.

Hello. There's an existing law under which you've got to show ID and sign a logbook to purchase certain cold meds. But that information isn't connected to any central database and hasn't been an effective tool to stop the purchase of over-the-counter meds used for meth production, according to Proos. The e-tracking is supposed to put the information in a central database.


Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 8:02 p.m.

So now when I have a stuffy nose I have to swipe my ID and watch it go into a government database because of a few idiots? Riiight. The attack on freedom and personal responsibility continues...


Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 7:45 p.m.

&quot;Manufacturers of allergy and cold medications will pay for the tracking at no cost to retailers or taxpayers, according to a press release issued by the governor's office today. &quot; - And if you believe that I've got a nice bridge for sale............ &quot;Measures signed today will make using a fake ID to purchase cold or allergy medicines that contain ingredients used for meth illegal .............. &quot; - Oh good I was worried that the people who make meth for our kids were only going to get off with a slap on the wrist. Isn't there already a penalty for producing meth? Wonder how the Chinese deal with drug dealers?

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 11:44 a.m.

&quot;Wonder how the Chinese deal with drug dealers?&quot; I think they execute them without due process. Is that the system you aspire to?