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Beware of ‘smurfing’ for meth in Michigan

6.7.2017 – Jay Grossman, Hometown Life

On any given day in Michigan, you’ll find someone “smurfing” at the local pharmacy.

Smurfing is the act of buying cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine (PSE) on behalf of criminals who plan to use the products to cook meth. Over-the-counter products such as Allegra-D, Claritan-D and Advil Cold and Sinus all contain PSE – a key ingredient in meth.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, at a press conference Wednesday at the Mills Pharmacy & Apothecary in Birmingham, unveiled a new anti-smurfing campaign that targets people who are purchasing cold and allergy medicine for the wrong reasons.

“Don’t be a smurf,” Schuette said. “Don’t be one of those who helps find the ingredients for the cooks in the meth labs.”

Both said the best way to catch someone smurfing is through the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx) system that records the purchase of products containing PSE. More than 2,000 pharmacies across the state are logged into the system.