Loophole in Pill Law

Loophole in Pill Law
By CJ Cassidy

Starting Friday, stores across southeast Missouri must move medicines with ephedrine or pseudoephedrine in them behind pharmacy counters.  If they don't have a pharmacy, they cannot sell the medicine.

Pills such as Sudafed are used by drug makers to cook meth.  Now lawmakers hope the new law will cut down on the meth plague in Missouri.

Pharmacist John Kersbergen admits a new law that puts pills containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine behind the counter, adds up to more work, but he believes it's well worth the effort.  "There are several states that have done this, that are controlling extra meth labs," he says.

Agent John Higgins with the Bootheel Drug Task Force agrees, but after having dealt with meth cooks for years, he knows when you block one path they'll try to find another and in this case they've found a "highway" specifically the information superhighway.  "You can get pseudoephedrine off the internet from dozens of online pharmacies and stores," Higgins pointed out.

Agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration say, that's because ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are not classified as controlled substances under federal guidelines.  "It's very hard to deal with stuff like that unless the postal service or Fedex or whoever catches a shipment there's no way for us to know it's coming in," Higgins says.

Still, anyone living in any one of our Heartland states where laws limit the amount of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine you can have at a time, could still get in troble for buying over the limit online. Drug agents hope lawmakers close the loophole quickly.  "It's gonna have to be on a much broader basis," they say.

Cape Girardeau County Prosecutor Morley Swingle says someone living in a state without similar laws could still get in trouble for selling large quantities to someone in the heartland, and it doesn't matter how they sell those pills.
Still drug agents hope you get in touch with your lawmaker and ask for changes across the board.