State cracks down on meth production

LANSING – Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation on Friday to combat meth production by limiting the amount of the drug’s main ingredient an individual can purchase and requiring the use of an online tracking system to enforce the limits.

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

“The surest and safest way to protect our communities and combat this powerfully addictive drug is to stop a producer’s access to supplies,” said Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Michigan now joins more than a dozen other states in using an online tracking system with a proven record of stopping illegal purchases. This system will end the practice of meth manufacturers skirting the law by going from store to store buying supplies, and it will do so without unfairly impacting a resident’s access to necessary cold medications.”

Public Act 84 of 2011, sponsored by Proos, 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. NPLEx is a real-time electronic logging system – provided at no cost to taxpayers or retailers – used only by law enforcement to track sales of over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines containing precursors to methamphetamine.

Public Acts 86 and 87 of 2011, sponsored by Rep. Amanda Price, enact limits on the amount of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine a person can buy and require that the buyer show a valid ID.

“Setting reasonable limits and requiring buyers to show an ID are common-sense solutions to help protect our families from this drug’s destruction,” said Price, R-Holland. “Controlling access to a substance used frequently in criminal activity is one step, but just as important is raising awareness of the effects and dangers of methamphetamine and its production.”

Public Act 85 of 2011, sponsored by Sen. Mike Nofs, prohibits the use or attempted use of false identification or another person’s ID to purchase a product containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, except in the case of undercover or police operations.

“Methamphetamine production is extremely dangerous, and I thank the governor for helping protect law enforcement officers who risk their lives every time they try to close down a lab,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “As a former state police commander, I have seen meth’s effects on users, their families and communities. My bill punishes criminals who attempt to circumvent state law by using a fake ID to acquire large quantities of these substances for illicit purposes.”