Task Force: E-system blocks meth 'precursor' drug sales

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Alabama Drug Abuse Task Force says that in the first three months of 2011 a new electronic system to track ephedrine/pseudoephedrine sales successfully blocked more than 26,000 attempted purchases. The drugs, more than 64,000 grams of over-the-counter medications, are 'precursor' drugs that are vital to the creation of Methamphetamine, or meth for short.

The Task Force also reported just under 400,000 documented sales, accounting for a total of 829,875 grams, of lawfully-purchased quantities of the precursors during the same quarter.    

Thanks to technology, an electronic record is now created each time an individual attempts to purchase over-the-counter cold and allergy medications in Alabama. The system is also used to issue 'stop-sale' alert notifications to retailers.

"If we stop meth manufacturing, we save lives," said Barry Matson, chairman of the Alabama Drug Abuse Task Force and the member representing the Alabama District Attorney's Association. "Alabama law enforcement estimates that using current Meth manufacturing processes, one gram of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine typically produces one gram of Meth."  Using this 1-to-1 ratio, the Alabama Drug Abuse Task Force report estimates that the new law has stopped 64,000 grams of Meth, with an estimated street value of $150 per gram or a total equivalent value of $9.6 million, from Alabama communities.

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