Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Police try to get jump on Methamphetamine

Some of the $1.8 million in methamphetamine seized last month in Northeast Philadelphia. More addictive than crack and scarily efficient at eating away the brain, this stimulant lights up the central nervous system.

The East Coast of the United States is beginning to feel the effects of the Unnecessary Epidemic:

Not yet big locally, the drug is a growing nationwide problem. Limits are sought for selling over-the-counter medicines containing a key ingredient.

By Alfred Lubrano

Inquirer Staff Writer

You can't buy cold medicine in Oregon without showing a picture I.D.

If you try to buy four boxes of cold pills at a Wal-Mart anywhere in the country, you will be told to put one back.

In some states, pharmacists may soon be treating Sudafed, Contac, and other over-the-counter products like prescription medicines.

Those restrictions are part of the new war on drugs, now raging in a store or pharmacy near you.

At the heart of it all is pseudoephedrine, a decongestant that is a basic ingredient in 80 percent of all cold medicines and in some allergy remedies. Illicit "cooks" extract it from tablets to make methamphetamine, known as the poor man's cocaine.

While it's far down the list of Philadelphians' drugs of choice, meth is prevalent in Western, Midwestern and Southern states. It will become a bigger problem here soon, law enforcement officials predict, citing the police seizure of nearly $1.8 million in methamphetamine in a Northeast Philadelphia home last month.

So Philadelphia narcotics police are gearing up, just now learning to brief local store owners about the need to manage the sale of products containing pseudoephedrine. The Philadelphia office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency says it is conducting several investigations into the production and distribution of crystal meth in the area.

"You Northeasterners are the last bastion that hasn't been hit yet," said U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agent David Taylor of the joint Drug Enforcement Administration/FBI drug-fighting group known as the El Paso Intelligence Center. "But I hate to tell you: It's coming."

Read the rest here.

No comments:

Post a Comment