Illinois governor Pat Quinn signed legislation on Thursday which aims to help law enforcement officials stop meth production. The bill will make a pilot program permanent that was created to electronically track pseudoephedrine purchases that could be used to manufacture methamphetamine.
The Methamphetamine Precursor Tracking Act went into effect in 2009. The act required pharmacies to track purchases of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine online through the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx).
"This program is a valuable tool that helps us prevent meth from getting into our communities by stopping production," Quinn said. "Tracking the sales of items commonly used to manufacture meth has enabled us to nip production in the bud, and it is important to continue this program."
Under the bill, pharmacies will also block purchases of more than 7.5 grams of pseudoephedrine made within 30 days and purchases of 3.6 grams of pseudoephedrine made within 24 hours.
"Unfortunately, meth production is starting to increase again across the state," Ill. Attorney General Lisa Madigan said. "We have found that the PSE tracking system is the best tool law enforcement has to identify criminals who illegally buy cold pills for cooking meth."
According to a press release from Quinn's office, the program has blocked more than 103,319 boxes or 230,330 grams of pseudoephedrine from being used for making methamphetamine in Illinois. The NPLEx has also helped Illinois State Police Methamphetamine Response Teams locate and seize 155 meth labs and 231 meth arrests.
"We must do everything we can to keep dangerous drugs like meth out of our communities," Rep. Jerry Costello said. "This new law gives us and edge on shutting meth labs by helping find the individuals who are making frequent purchases of meth-making products."
The legislation passed the Illinois General Assembly unanimously and goes into effect immediately.