Pharmacies, Law Enforcement Work Together with Anti-Meth Trackin - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Pharmacies, Law Enforcement Work Together with Anti-Meth Tracking System

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Drug users, dealers, and accomplices are put in jail everyday. It's a crime that can lead to serious penalties if convicted.

It's a tricky crime to fight, especially when manufactures use otherwise legal products to make illegal products.

The production of methamphetamine, or "meth", usually requires pseudoephedrine products. It's a product you can get over the counter.

Pharmacies throughout West Virginia are keeping track of who is buying products with pseudoephedrine in it through the National Precursor Log Exchange.

"We have to take the product, we scan it at the register and it comes and says 'this particular product requires an authorization by the DEA and methamphetamine act,' So what you would actually do, is scan the person's driver's license," said Mario Blount, pharmacist and partner at Best Care Pharmacy.

The pharmacist then enters in the person's information. The information is transmitted and an answer is sent back within seconds.

"It transfers this information to a central data base. And if this person purchased more than 3.6 grams today or more than nine grams within a months period of time it would come back and tell us that the sale is denied," Blount said.

The system is helpful for law enforcement. It provides more solid evidence and less footwork.

But Sheriff Albert Marano said the ability to monitor purchases across the state border is especially beneficial.

"It will really help in the fact that if somebody already buys their limit in West Virginia and tries to cross the state limit into Ohio or Virginia and tries to buy more of the cold-remedy drugs, pseudoephedrine type drugs. It will be able to track it," Sheriff Marano said.

But it's by no means loop hole proof.

"With anything, people who want something are going to find ways to get it. There's a process now called 'shake and bake.' You can get an instant cold pack, break it, put the pseudoephedrine in there, and as the exothermic reaction occurs you shake the pseudoephedrine and it sort of gives an instant methamphetamine," Blount said.

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