Statewide meth campaign launched in Midtown grocery

Attorney General Chris Koster and Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker were among officials at the press conference to warn that smurfing is illegal, a social scourge and a threat to children.

In front of rows of cold medicines, officials on Wednesday launched a statewide effort against methamphetamine at the pharmacy of the Marsh’s Sunfresh in Westport.

Missouri is the third state within a few months to try the new information campaign and others are expected to follow soon.

It involves providing warning signs and pictures to places were cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine are sold. People can only buy two packages at a time of the drug used to make meth and meth cooks sometimes recruit others to buy allotments and resell the packages to the meth cooks – a practice called smurfing.

Meth manufacture and use causes much child abuse and neglect, Peters Baker said, and Koster noted that Missouri last year once again led the nation in domestic production of the drug.

“Without smurfers some domestic meth operations wouldn’t be able to operate,” Peters Baker said. “The public needs to know the serious consequences of this activity.”

Koster said, “The anti-smurfing Campaign is not a silver bullet, but I am confident it will make those who consider buying products to help a meth cook think twice before making an unlawful purchase.”

Those who knowingly buy the cold medicines for meth cooks can be guilty of conspiring to manufacture meth and face a penalty of up to 15 years, he said.

The problem with the cold medicines is difficult because they are popular with consumers and the vast majority of buyers just want cold and allergy relief. Some cities in the state have passed laws making the medicines available only by prescription but manufacturers and the state are trying approaches like the new education campaign.

The approach, also used so far in Alabama and Kentucky, was developed by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, a trade group representing those who make over-the-counter medicines.

Missouri retailers will carry it out on a voluntary basis. The Missouri Pharmacy Association and the Missouri Retailers Association have started distributing anti-smurfing signs to retailers statewide.


More information on the campaign 


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