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20,000 pseudoephedrine sales blocked this year

7.25.16–Dale Denwalt, The Journal Records 

OKLAHOMA CITY – A database that restricts the purchase of pseudoephedrine blocked sales of more than 20,000 boxes in Oklahoma so far this year.

The data is from the National Precursor Log Exchange, and contains stats for the first six months of the year. A sale at the pharmacy counter is blocked when the buyer shows up on the NPLEx database, which includes names of people with methamphetamine-related convictions and buying histories. If someone tries to buy more than the legal limit, the pharmacy won’t sell the pseudoephedrine.

State Rep. Mike Ritze, who supported Oklahoma’s involvement in the exchange, said the numbers show the program works.

“We felt like this program, if it’s fully implemented, it would be highly successful and would make a big dent in the illegal use of pseudoephedrine,” said Ritze, R-Broken Arrow.

An early proposal would have banned the sale of pseudoephedrine without a doctor’s prescription.

“As a physician, I felt like that was really overstepping what we needed to do,” he said. “Seeing the success of (NPLEx) in other states, we felt like that after it was fully implemented it wouldn’t punish the honest citizen that obtains a very inexpensive cold medication for personal use.”

Figures from the state’s narcotics laws enforcement agency show that the number of meth labs is falling. Since 2011, the number of meth labs found by police has fallen by 88 percent. According to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, Ritze said, meth lab seizures are down 70 percent since last year alone.

“The program is working and it’s not punishing the citizen that is the person who needs it for honest and legal use, and not the criminal,” he said. “It’s just a short-term and a small amount.

They don’t go in and try to buy 100 boxes all at once like your meth-lab people do.”

According to the company that operates the NPLEx database, blocked sales accounted for about 4.6 percent of all boxes of pseudoephedrine sold.

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