Mississippi puts limits on meth ingredients

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2005

NATCHEZ &045;&045; Metro Narcotics Cmdr. Cliff Cox spent the day Thursday watching the birth of a new bill aimed at reducing the production of crystal methamphetamine and the night on patrol, where he thought he smelled a meth lab.

Cox, and agents Karl Pree and Eric Kaho joined sheriffs and law enforcement officers from around the state to watch Gov. Haley Barbour sign a bill into law placing restrictions on the sale of cold medicines.

Though Cox, who often does much of his work at odd hours, didn’t have much time to talk, he did say Thursday’s passage of a bill placing restrictions on the sale of cold medicines will limit the availability of the major meth ingredients.

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&uot;It will help us combat this epidemic,&uot; Cox said. &uot;But we are just going to have to wait and see how it’s going to work.&uot;

The law requires retailers to store cold medicines containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine in a locked display case behind the counter and within 30 feet of a store cashier or under video surveillance.

The law also limits the amount of cold tablets sold to a customer to no more than two packages per transaction or six grams of pseudoephedrine or ephedrine.

Retailers can be charged with a misdemeanor for not obeying the law.

Cox said he expected the law to cut down on the medicines that are stolen from stores.

&uot;Crystal meth is a problem in Adams County,&uot; Cox said. &uot;We are seeing a good bit of it and it’s going to be a problem. It’s an epidemic we are going to have to fight.&uot;

Crystal meth is a drug that has emerged widely in the last few years and is growing in usage, Cox said. It is a powder &uot;cooked&uot; from ammonia lithium from car batteries and pseudoephedrine. It can be snorted, eaten or injected and is highly addictive.

Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics Agent Jeff Killion told the Associated Press the bill will be useful because most addicts are paranoid when they’re under the influence of the drug and will not want to attract attention to themselves as they try to get the cold medicine.