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Blunt signs meth law; puts restrictions on cold medicines

By AP/KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – People wanting to buy drugs like Sudafed in Missouri will soon have to jump through more hoops, the goal of which is to curb the prevalence of meth.

Governor Matt Blunt on Wednesday signed into law new requirements for over-the-counter medicines that contain ephedrine or pseudo-ephedrine, a key ingredient in the making of methamphetamine.

Pharmacies in Missouri will now have a month (until July 15) to put all medicines that contain ephedrine or pseudo-ephedrine in powder pill form behind their counters. Convenience stores and other shops without pharmacists can no longer sell the powder pill form of the products.

Only adults will be able to buy the medicine, as well, and they'll have to sign a log to create a paper trail of where all the drugs are going.

Supporters of the new law point to Oklahoma, where meth incidents decreased by 35% after a similar law took effect in April, 2004.

A look at the new law

NOTE: THESE NEW RESTRICTIONS DO NOT APPLY TO LIQUID OR GEL CAP FORMS OF THE MEDICINES

PHARMACY REQUIREMENTS
- Medicines that contain ephedrine or pseudo-ephedrine and are in powder pill form will have to be shelved behind a pharmacy counter by July 15.
- Only pharmacists or their registered technicians will be allowed to sell the restricted drugs.
- Convenience stores and other shops without pharmacists can no longer sell the products.
- The restrictions do not apply to liquid or gel cap forms of the medicines.

BUYER REQUIREMENTS
- Only people 18 years or older will be allowed to buy the restricted drugs.
- All buyers will have to show identification and sign a log, detailing their name, address and the amount they bought.
- Pharmacies must have those logs in operation by September 13.
- Buyer records will be open to police inspection.

OTHER LIMITS
- Customers can buy no more than 9 grams a month of the powder pill form of pseudoephedrine or ephedrine medicines.
- Customers can also buy no more than 9 grams per purchase for medicines in the liquid or gel cap forms.
- Nine grams equals about 12 boxes containing 24 pills each of 30-milligram pseudoephedrine, which lasts about four hours per pill.

PENALTIES
- People who "knowingly or recklessly" violate any of the provisions face Class A misdemeanor charges, which are punishable by as long as one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

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