Restrictions on pseudoephedrine sales foiling illegal meth labs

July 7, 2015

The number of methamphetamine lab seizures in West Virginia is plummeting, and some are attributing that decline to pharmacy restrictions on pseudoephedrine products such as Sudafed and Claritin-D.

The number of methamphetamine lab seizures in West Virginia is plummeting, and some are attributing that decline to pharmacy restrictions on pseudoephedrine products such as Sudafed and Claritin-D.

According to an article in the Charleston Gazette, the 123 meth lab busts in the first six months of 2015 are 20% less than the number in the first six months of 2014.

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The decline in the meth lab busts coincides with a steep decline in the sales of cold and allergy products containing pseudoephedrine-which is a key ingredient for making illegal meth.

“The continued decline of meth lab seizures in West Virginia shows that we can make a difference and stem the tide of meth abuse and production,” Sen. Joe Manchin, (D-WV), told the newspaper.

Starting in 2013, most retail pharmacies in West Virginia stopped selling popular medications that have pseudoephedrine as their only active ingredient.  Pharmacy chains also have set restrictive purchase limits.

As a result, pseudoephedrine sales declined from 431,000 boxes in 2013 to 303,000 boxes last year. In the first six months of 2015, West Virginia pharmacies have sold 141,000 boxes of those products. In February 2013, one Walmart reported 1,800 pseudoephedrine sales.

A decline in meth lab seizures has followed. West Virginia State Police reported 531 meth lab busts in 2013. That number dropped to 313 last year.

“Clearly, the very responsible actions of pharmacies to remove single-ingredient pseudoephedrine from their shelves has had an impact,” said State Rep. Don Perdue, D-Wayne.