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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -
Hamp Russell at City Drug knows recent efforts to curb Pseudo ephedrine purchases are working.
"We have fewer people coming in requesting Pseudo ephedrine than we've ever had before."
Two years ago the state implemented an electronic database to track excessive Pseudo ephedrine purchases most likely intended for meth production.
State officials say even then, producers tried to beat the system by having other people buy the drug for them--an action known as "smurfing."
The new law "puts more restrictions on the sale of an ingredient that's used in a bad way," says Russell.
The law states it is now a felony to smurf.
If someone is convicted of "smurfing" they could be blocked from purchasing Pseudo ephedrine for up to 10 years.
Pseudo ephedrine must be kept behind the counter and only sold by a licensed pharmacist.
You must have a drivers' license, non-drivers' government ID, military ID or passport to purchase it.
"We will see more of a decrease in people coming in to the pharmacies," says Russell.
Tougher laws aren't the only things Pseudo ephedrine buyers might notice when they visit their local pharmacy. They may soon see anti-smurfing posters hanging up there, too.
"What messages, what visuals would eventually deter a criminal from potentially doing this?" says Carlos Gutierrez.
Gutierrez is with the Consumer Healthcare Products Association in Washington, D.C.
He is working with state officials on a new "Anti-Smurfing" campaign--hanging posters in pharmacies across the state.
"This is a way to try and get to them [smurfers] at the root of the problem...when they're trying to purchase," adds Gutierrez.
"I think it's a good idea...I really do," adds Russell.
State officials also say it is now a felony to possess any paraphernalia used to manufacture Methamphetamine.