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Michigan Meth Offenders Will Soon Need a Prescription for Cold Medicine

Craig Mitchelldyer, Getty Images

There is no denying that the methamphetamine epidemic is a scourge on the state of Michigan. In an attempt to further combat this crystal pariah, state lawmakers are taking measures against the individuals who purchase cold medicine for drug manufacturers… this is apparently called “smurfing.”

Earlier last week, the House passed a collection of bills in a vote of 105-3 that will make it more difficult for people to buy over-the-counter meth-making ingredients – ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.

Lawmakers suggest there is only one way to make meth, and that is with the use of cold medicine. “You can make meth out of a wide variety of ingredients, but you can’t make it without pseudoephedrine,” said Representative John Kivela. “So these are all aimed at keeping pseudoephedrine out of the hands of people who use it for the wrong reasons.”

The new legislation would put individuals convicted of meth-related offenses into a national database that tracks the sales of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine in real time. In addition, pharmacists would be alerted if anyone convicted of meth crimes within the past decade attempted to make such a purchase. Only those meth offenders with a prescription would be able to purchase cold medicines containing these ingredients.

Although Michigan began using this database in 2011, the law does not come with stop-sale protocol. Out of the 29 states using this database, there are only five that have measure put in place to stop the sales of these drugs to convicted meth offenders.

If this measure becomes law, the purchase or possession of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine for meth manufacturing would be a felony offense with a penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $5,000. Anyone convicted of having individuals purchase these medications for meth production on their behalf can be sentenced to 10 year in prison and fined $10,000.

Michigan lawmakers say the term “smurfing” comes from the 80s cartoon ‘The Smurfs’. “Papa Smurf used to go get all his underlings to go do his work for him,” said Kivela.

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