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New Law To Change How Some Cold Medicines Are Sold

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Gov. Mike Easley will sign a new law into effect Tuesday that will change how consumers shop for cold medicines.

"The Meth Lab Prevention Act" (

HB 248

) requires North Carolina retailers to place all products with pseudoephedrine behind the counter. The cold medicine is a primary ingredient in making methamphetamine.

"It's just like a farmer that can't get seed or fertilizer," said Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell. "If these meth-makers can't get the main ingredients, ephedrine or pseudoephendrine, they can't make meth. It's real simple."

Some larger retailers, such as Target and Wal-Mart have already moved those medicines to the pharmacy. On the shelves, in their place, are cards that customers must take to the pharmacy to get the medicines they want. There is a limit of two per person.

Since 1999, the number of meth lab drug busts in North Carolina jumped from nine to more than 300 a year. After a similar law went into effect in Oklahoma, meth arrests dropped by more than 80 percent.

North Carolina retailers have until January to comply.


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