Local News

To Fight Meth, Some Want To Make Cold Medicines Harder To Get

Posted March 4, 2005

— North Carolina's attorney general wants to make a certain type of readily-available cold medicine harder to get -- hoping to deter the rise of methamphetamine.

Most people look to over-the-counter medicines for relief from the common cold, but methamphetamine manufacturers want them for something else.

"There are a number of ways to make meth, but the number one ingredient is ephedrine or pseudoephedrine," said Roy Cooper, the state's attorney general.

Because meth labs such as one in Johnston County started springing up around the state, Cooper would like to make the drug's ingredients tougher to come by.

"I want North Carolina to pass this law before we get desperate," Cooper said.

The proposal would restrict the sale of ephedrine to pharmacies only.

It would be placed behind the counter. You'd have to show ID and sign a registry. You'd also be limited to three packs per purchase.

The downside?

"When we start adding layers and layers of red tape ... it's going to increase the cost to the public," said Kay Carroll, a pharmacist

But cost at the counter isn't Cooper's biggest concern.

"This is a small price to pay to get a reduction in the number of labs," Cooper said.

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