Local News

Tracking system helping block suspect medication sales

Posted January 12, 2012

— A law to help fight methamphetamine labs has blocked more than 1,600 questionable medication sales in its first 11 days on the books, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said Thursday.

Under the law, pharmacies use an electronic tracking system, the National Precursor Log Exchange, or NPLEx, to log all purchases of products containing pseudoephedrine, which is found in common cold remedies and is the key ingredient needed to make meth.

State Bureau of Investigation agents and other law enforcement officers can analyze information from the tracking system to help identify possible meth labs based on repeated attempts to purchase the medications.

Previously, people involved with meth labs would shop at multiple stores and cross state lines to skirt state laws limiting pseudoephedrine purchases to two packages at one time and three within 30 days. The tracking system automatically lets retailers know if someone has reached the legal limit for pseudoephedrine purchases so the store can stop the sale.

The system links North Carolina with 18 states across the country, including South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Kentucky and West Virginia. More than two-thirds of pharmacies in North Carolina are using the system, and more are in the process of joining.

So far, the system has blocked 1,669 questionable purchases of more than 2,000 boxes of pseudoephedrine in North Carolina, Cooper said. That’s enough pseudoephedrine to make approximately 3.8 kilograms of meth, he said.

“We’re making it more difficult for criminals to get the ingredients they need to make meth and easier for law enforcement to find them and shut down their dangerous labs,” Cooper said in a statement.

Last year, the SBI busted a record 344 meth labs statewide. That was up from 235 in 2010 and 206 in 2009.


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  • readerman Jan 12, 2012

    Great news!! Keep up the good work.

  • 3forme Jan 12, 2012

    FYI to an earlier comment about showing id for the purchase..If your pharmacy does not require id then they are breaking the law..My wife is a pharmacy tech for a major chain...

  • Qwerty27807 Jan 12, 2012

    Meth is the only growth industry in Eastern NC, so it seems to me that they're just killing jobs with this silliness.

  • Follow_The_Money27617 Jan 12, 2012

    Victimless? Have you ever seen a meth lab explode and burn? Have you read about the severe bio health hazards that remain after a meth lab has been moved or shut down? There are more than your useless meth heads at risk here.
    January 12, 2012 2:48 p.m.
    Report abuse

    LOL so can a "works bomb". Whats your point? There is no victim. Stop harrassing people and mind your business. You dont like meth? Stay away from it like I do cigarettes, fat people, and smelley people. Get it?

  • mikeyj Jan 12, 2012

    Did you not read the number of participating states. NC is not alone. As for your allergies maybe you might want to move as there is always something "pollinating in NC.

  • bigguy123x Jan 12, 2012

    Why publicize this. Just dont fill and send addresses to the polise.

  • unblankenbelievable Jan 12, 2012

    "War on drugs. Fail"- very well said, and oh so true!!

    Your right, and besides, you can't have a war against an inanimate object. Where do these officials come from, Mars?

  • unblankenbelievable Jan 12, 2012

    Our government isn't to bright, infact their pretty ignorant. Maybe we should stop selling cars so people won't drive drunk or better yet, screen the people before you sell them a car.

  • BigUNCFan Jan 12, 2012


    and this system stops the theft you speak of how?

    Thought as much. It is just another waste of money.

  • sunshine1040 Jan 12, 2012

    I was on perscription alegra until it went over the counter for 10 out of 12 months and cleaning my house did not help my alergy as I was alergic to man made scents that are added to most cleaning products and to perfumes. What cleared up my alergys stop taking drugs that may prevent my cancer from returning. So now the cancer has returned and I am back on a regiment of pills and my allergys are increasing again. An addict will find a way to get the drugs they want regardless of the law even if it means forcing someone to go in the drugstore and buy it for them