Public awareness campaign aims to warn 'smurfers' who buy medicine with pseudoephedrine


by WHAS11

Posted on November 22, 2012 at 10:26 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 23 at 8:13 AM

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WHAS11) -- By law, Kentucky pharmacies are already on the front lines of the fight against methamphetamine production.

But now many pharmacies are voluntarily stepping up their game. A new public awareness campaign is aimed at making some people think twice before buying medications containing pseudoephedrine.

The pharmaceutical industry fought Kentucky’s new purchase limits of cold and allergy medicines tooth and nail, but it’s now joining forces to publicize the problem.

Senator Robert Stivers says he will wait to see the effectiveness of the monthly limit on pseudoephedrine purchases before introducing tougher legislation.

The campaign is aimed at people called "smurfers" who buy legal medications containing pseudoephedrine for the purpose of illegally reselling them to people who use the drugs to make meth. 

Posters at some pharmacies have two messages, first if you are buying cold and allergy medicines for a meth cook, you are committing a felony and putting someone's life at risk.

The other -- pharmacies are checking ID's when you buy medicines with pseudoephedrine - there's a database with other stores and police are following up on suspicious purchases.

“I think this anti-smurfing campaign will be a big help.  And senate bill three that was passed in the last session, I think, is going to add to that,” Gov. Steve Beshear (D) said. “You know, there's no ultimate answer that solves it all. And it’s always going to be a problem, but we've got to really attack it aggressively.”

But to some of the opponents of the new law, that aggressive approach is just another example of an overbearing government inserting itself into  private lives…big brother.

 “It's just one more thing that government has its hands into that it doesn't need to, to be involved in…,” David Adams, Ky. Republican Liberty Caucus Chairman, said.