Starting Friday, a new law restricts where and how much you can buy of some common cold medications, which also happen to be key ingredients in methamphetamines.
The goal is to stem the rising tide of a dangerous and deadly drug.
Clerks at your local retailer are about to become the next soldiers in the war on drugs. They’ll be required to keep medications that contain specific quantities of ephedrine, pseudoephedrine or phenylpropanolamine behind the counter instead of on store shelves.
And customers will only be able to buy three packs at a time. Those chemicals are key ingredients in one of the most dangerous illegal drugs, methamphetamine.
Randy Miller with the Florida Retail Federation says it won’t be any different for clerks than dealing with restrictions on alcohol or tobacco.
“This one is just a simple quantity limitation and they are already schooled in how to deal with an irate customer when they’re told they can’t have something.”
Rather than try to figure out which cold medicines have which ingredients, some retailers are just opting to stop carrying them altogether.
You may discover it’s suddenly harder to get Sudaphed, one of the most popular drugs using the now-restricted ingredients, but there’s a good reason.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Guy Tunnell says anyone near a meth lab, even innocent bystanders and kids, is at risk.
“This whole process is very volatile, subject to explosions. We’ve had cases where we’ve arrested some of the cookers, the team members if you will, who have lost extremities because of explosions.”
Authorities hope by making it a little tougher to get a hold of the ingredients, meth makers will pack up and head for another state.
Clerks who don’t follow the new restrictions on sales of certain kinds of Sudafed and similar products could be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor for a first offense.
Retailers are expected to begin training clerks around the state within the next several days. The law takes effect July 1.