Drug Investigators: High prices, many miles don't stop meth

Drug agents say people are now going just outside the Heartland to get drugs containing pseudoephedrine.
Drug agents say people are now going just outside the Heartland to get drugs containing pseudoephedrine.

SHANNON COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Methamphetamine use: It's an addiction investigators say users will go to any lengths to satisfy. Drug agents say people are now going just outside the Heartland to get drugs containing pseudoephedrine.

In Shannon County we found prices ranging from $30 to $50 a box. Compare that with prices you find at chain stores and private pharmacies which average around $18 a box.

What's more, according to numbers on sales from some of the pharmacies, they're doing what investigators consider eight to ten times normal business for a pharmacy of their size - even at those higher prices.

"It's way above the normal prices," said Kevin Glaser of the SEMO Drug Task Force. "It's clear I think they have a pretty good idea of what's going on."

Glaser says it may not be illegal but he feels it certainly is not ethical. We aren't revealing the names of certain pharmacies because investigators say they are not breaking any laws. However, authorities say the sales figures caught their eye because they feel the numbers are jaw dropping at those prices.

Here are numbers we found between December of 2010, and October of this year for one pharmacy in Shannon County:

  • December:  90
  • January:  337
  • February:  472
  • March:  649
  • April:  614
  • May:  701
  • June:  762
  • July: Not Available
  • August:  401
  • September:  351
  • October:  436

"Those numbers are way above what you would expect normal sales to be," said Glaser. "I think it's an example of how people are getting around the state wide data tracking system. People will spend the money for a box and walk out with five or six boxes depending on how many friends they take in with them."

When we asked store clerks at one pharmacy if every store had similar prices, they answered, "No idea. We are the only store that sells this for 30-50 miles."

Not far from Shannon County, Butler County Sheriff Mark Dobbs says he's sure plenty of people from his county, a prescription only area, travel to Shannon to get meth making ingredients.

"A lot of times you see the almighty dollar comes into play when people just do things for money," said Sheriff Dobbs. "To me it's a pretty easy deduction that this isn't people traveling to Shannon County or where ever for cold relief this is people going there for meth products, for the wrong reasons."

Sheriff Dobbs says going prescription only has helped, but problems linger.

"It's still in southeast Missouri," said Dobbs. "It's not that far away."

As for Glaser he says he would like to see pharmacies use more ethical practices when it comes to who they sell to.

"I think people in those communities need to step up and put some pressure on them," said Glaser. "They need to consider who those pharmacies are allowing to come into those communities."

Many of the counties in southeast Missouri are prescription only now, and he says that is helping to slow production in our area.

He says state wide production is up eight percent from this time in 2010, however in our area we are down by 26 labs compared to last year.

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