Meth production down thanks to law

Published 3:55 pm Monday, November 28, 2011

Methamphetamine production has seen a steep decline in Alabama under a new law that went into effect this year to block the sale of allergy medicines used to make meth, as it is known on the street.

The NPLEx system is being used to issue stop-sale alerts to Alabama retailers for purchases attempting to violate the quantity limits that exceed the law. NPLEx is made available to retailers and law enforcement in Alabama at no cost with the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators, NADDI.

Supporters of the new law say that it has met or exceeded expectations in curbing the production of meth in Alabama.

Frank McDaniel of Albertville sponsored the 2010 law that created the electronic monitoring program and is pleased with the results.

“We’ve gotten good results and it is only going to get better,” McDaniel said.

Between January 1 and September 30 of this year the instant electronic system blocked more than 185,000 grams of over the counter cold and allergy medicines, which could have resulted in almost $30 million worth of meth on the street.

Some 356 boxes of the medications were blocked stopping 844 grams of controlled substances off the streets in the process.

Law enforcement officials, who led the effort for the new law, lauded the results, including DeKalb County District Attorney Mike O’Dell.

“I would give it an A-plus. I think it is working exceptionally well. I’m really gratified in the results we’ve seen statewide.” O’Dell said.

According to O’Dell, his county has seen a dramatic decline in meth lab operations after the new law went into affect. While Alabama-produced meth is on the decline, the new challenge is meth from Mexico to replace the supply that had been made locally, he said.

According to EPIC, which includes officials from various law enforcement agencies,

Alabama has seen a 74 percent decline in meth labs discovered over the past year. A real-time, stop-sale tracking system like NPLEx is now used in 19 states. Of the states using the NPLEx system, Alabama ranks second in boxes blocked, second in grams blocked, and first for usage by law enforcement.

“Alabama law enforcement officials and legislative leaders are to be commended for tackling this problem in a way that blocks illegal sales while not burdening law abiding citizens who need affordable medicines for their cold and allergy problems,” McDaniel said.