News From Terre Haute, Indiana

News

November 27, 2013

AG unveils campaign against ‘smurfing’

Pharmacies to use signage to warn against using medication for manufacture of meth

Jeffersonville — The state’s top lawyer has a message for pharmacy shoppers: Don’t indulge in “smurfing.”

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller joined Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull, Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore and representatives from the Indiana Retail Council at a CVS Pharmacy in Jeffersonville on Wednesday to unveil a new statewide public-awareness campaign warning against purchasing certain medicines for the purpose of manufacturing methamphetamine.

The voluntary educational campaign aims to increase public awareness of the criminal enterprise known as “smurfing,” which is the practice of purchasing cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine to sell to methamphetamine cooks.

The initiative comes as Indiana State Police continues to have a record number of meth lab busts.

Key to the new campaign is signage displayed at the point of sale informing consumers that smurfing is a criminal offense and that it is an integral part of the meth production process. As a result, the simple act of buying certain cold and allergy products for a stranger can fuel Indiana’s meth problem.

“Law enforcement, prosecutors and our legislature have all worked hard to crack down on the use and manufacturing of methamphetamine, and the fact is, more must be done,” Zoeller said.

“This public awareness campaign warns Hoosiers that purchasing pseudoephedrine for the purposes of either making meth or selling it to a meth cook is a crime. This joint initiative shows that state leaders are willing to join forces with the manufacturers of over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines to remind all Hoosiers: If you’re purchasing these items for a meth cook, you are breaking the law and you will be arrested.”

And the penalty has gotten more severe: In July, “smurfing” behavior was changed from a misdemeanor charge to a class-D felony offense.

Unlike other hard drugs, methamphetamine can be easily produced with materials readily available to the public.

“Not only is [methamphetamine] something people can learn to manufacture themselves, but I think meth, when they talk about it being a scourge, the number of children that are brought in by Child Protective Services, I think a lot of that is related to meth addicts,” Zoeller said.

But new products, such as Nexafed, which is formulated in a fashion the drug cannot easily be used in methamphetamine production, could result in the eradication of methamphetamine production. The drug “disrupts the extraction and conversion of pseudoephedrine to methamphetamine,” according to its website.

Nexafed is currently available at area pharmacies, though it’s costlier than typical cold and allergy medicines.

Zoeller took a long-term approach in addressing that issue.

“Those are some things we would really like to see move online,” he said. “The problem is when you eliminate the local manufacturer, you will have it quickly replaced by the drug trade coming up from Mexico.”

Mull said it is helpful to law enforcement officials to have leaders tightening laws, reinforcing penalties and raising public awareness.

During Wednesday’s media event held near a pharmacy counter, Mull gave insight into how methamphetamine use affects the residents of Clark County.

“Here, in Clark County, we have seen over the last two years a large increase in this activity, and these laws are much needed.” Mull said. “We have individuals who go from pharmacy to pharmacy and obtain these materials and then create these drugs. It is a big drain on the community.”

Moore said methamphetamine use is something that has touched nearly all families living in Jeffersonville, but that he is encouraged by the state’s action to combat production of the drug.

“Meth is truly a horrible drug that effects all parts of our community,” Moore said. “Public education campaigns like this are so important so that members of our community can help in the fight against this tragic occurrence.”

Some on the frontlines have seen a dent in the meth problem.

Chad Burks, a Jeffersonville pharmacist, said he has seen improvements in reducing the availability of pseudoephedrine.  

“I think it is good. I’ve seen a significant reduction of druggies walking into the door,” Burks said of state and federal efforts to curtail illegal usage of pseudoephedrine. “They have pretty much locked down the channels.”

Burks said when customers come into the pharmacy and attempt to purchase pseudoephedrine, that person’s information is taken from a driver’s license and entered into a database, Meth Check, which tracks pseudoephedrine purchase history. If the database shows that person has reached the legal purchase limit, he or she will be turned away.

Burks said people are not permitted to purchase more than 7.2 grams of pseudoephedrine in a 30-day period or 3.6 grams in a single day.

One of the largest deterrents to illegal use of pseudoephedrine, Burks said, is to keep the drug behind the pharmacy counter and out of reach of customers.

Burks has witnessed first-hand the results of Zoeller’s and other officials’ efforts.

“I think the system is working,” he said.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
News
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Captain of Sunken South Korean Ferry Apologizes Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Raw: Royal Couple Visits Australia Mountains Raw: Pro-Russian Militants Killed on Base Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Raw: Blast at Tennessee Ammunition Plant Kills 1
NDN Video
The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday Don't Be A Tattletale: Bad Bullying Tips For Students The trillest thoughts on marijuana "RHOA" Star Charged With Battery Grizzly Bears Get Snowy Birthday Party Weatherman draws forecast when another technical glitch strikes WGN Elizabeth Olsen's Sexy Shoot Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 1
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity
Real Estate News