Proos meth crackdown measure signed by governor

LANSING – Sen. John Proos’ legislation to combat meth production by using an online system to enforce limits on the amount of the drug’s main ingredient an individual can purchase was signed Friday by Gov. Rick Snyder.

“Michigan now joins more than a dozen other states in using an online system with a proven record in stopping illegal purchases before they are made,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “For example, in South Carolina, e-tracking blocked the illegal sale of nearly 6,000 boxes of medicines in January 2011 alone.”

Methamphetamine, or meth, is an addictive, illegal drug that is commonly manufactured using ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, which are common ingredients in cold medications.

“I thank the governor for protecting our communities from this powerfully addictive drug which wreaks havoc in every community it penetrates – devastating lives of users and their families – and endangering the lives of law enforcement officers,” said Van Buren County Sheriff Dale Gribler, who spoke at the bill signing. “Southwest Michigan has been hit hard by this drug, and this system will help us combat meth by stopping a producer’s access to supplies.”

Proos’ measure, Public Act 84 of 2011, requires retailers or pharmacies to consult the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx) before selling products containing pseudoephedrine to make sure that the buyer has not exceeded a set limit. This is not a background check, since the store clerk will not have access to a customer’s personal information.  Only law enforcement will have the ability to monitor this activity.

NPLEx is a real-time electronic logging system provided at no cost taxpayers or retailers and will be used only by law enforcement to track sales of over-the-counter cold and allergy medications containing precursors to methamphetamine. The system will track sales statewide and across state lines.

“As a border community, we understand that tracking sales in nearby states is critical to preventing meth manufacturers from skirting the law by going from store to store buying supplies,” Proos said. “Utilizing this online tracking system will end that practice – without unfairly impacting a resident’s access to necessary cold medications.”

Companion reforms Public Acts 86 and 87 of 2011 will enact a limit on the amount of pseudoephedrine a person can buy, require that the buyer show a valid ID and prohibit the use of a false ID to purchase products containing the ingredient. Public Act 85 will add a penalty for using false identification when buying medications containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine.

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Editor’s Note: A photograph of Proos and Gribler at the bill signing is available on the senator’s photowire at: http://www.MISenateGOP.com/senators/photowire.asp?District=21.