Kennett looks to ban selling of psuedoephedrine

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

KENNETT, MO (KAIT) – Kennett city officials told Region 8 News Friday they're considering enacting legislation that would make it illegal to purchase products containing pseudoephedrine without a doctor's prescription. The Kennett City Council will vote on the proposal by the Bootheel Drug Task Force and other law enforcement agencies January 19. If approved, Kennett would become the fourth city in the state of Missouri with such an ordinance.

"They deal with it all of the time so they see a tremendous amount of meth that's being used and they work their tails off and don't get nearly as far as they should," said Mayor Roger Wheeler.

Wheeler said his officers don't have enough time to follow every purchase of pseudoephedrine.

"Right now we're limited. We're limited on manpower, like every city there is in the country. We're limited on the amount of time we can spend doing that," said Tim Trowbridge with the Kennett Police Department.

Poplar Bluff, Union and Washington have passed similar ordinances. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, Missouri annually leads the country in the number of meth-related offenses.

"There is not a community in the state of Missouri that is not affected by methamphetamine," said Wheeler. "If this stuff can be made into an addictive, killing drug, then it ought to be controlled with prescription."

According to Trowbridge, meth-makers have changed tactics to avoid capture. They've also changed the way the methamphetamine is manufactured.

"The method of producing methamphetamine has changed. It's changed many times in many different ways. They've used different items. They've changed the way they cook different things," said Trowbridge. "They always have to have the pseudoephedrine pills. They have to have the ephedrine."

"When the one pot method, which is more prevalent today, came about, they would take one box of pills and manufacture methamphetamine off it. One box of pills, like Claritin-D, you can 3-4 grams of methamphetamine off it from one box of pills," said Trowbridge.

Trowbridge said "smurfing" has become a key element in the meth-making process. Smurfing is described as a person who travels around with the goal of obtaining as much pseudoephedrine as possible.

"We've heard on several occasions and it's not uncommon for one person buying a box of pills from somebody that they'd receive $50 from somebody plus reimbursement costs of the pills," said Trowbridge. "The most common manufacturer of methamphetamine would manufacture a small amount for him, then a small amount to sell where he could recuperate his cost to do it again."

"We're trying to give the pharmacists something that they can go on, this same instance happens. They come in to buy a box from Little Rock or St. Louis. They can automatically say, in the city of Kennett, you have to have a prescription to buy pseudoephedrine," said Trowbridge.

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