usa-map usa-map

Learn more about the dangers of smurfing here

Learn more

Our View: This Counts As Good News

Chalk one up for the Chambers County Drug Task Force, and for the good residents of Chambers County.We were pleased to publish last week that county law enforcement officials are reporting a decrease in methamphetamines production. Nobody exclaimed “Mission accomplished!” at last week’s press conference to discuss the news, but it certainly reflects a positive trend. The hard work of law enforcement, and the effectiveness of the state’s stringent requirements on purchasing pseudoephedrine, is paying dividends. “We’ve come a long way in our fight against meth in Chambers County,” Chambers County Sheriff Sid Lockhart stated in a press release.Two years ago, state legislators approved a comprehensive anti-meth bill which is described as the nation’s toughest. The legislation includes a drug offender database; reductions in the amount of pseudoephedrine (PSE) that a person can purchase monthly; establishment of a felony charge for anybody convicted of being involved with smurfing (where individuals purchase pseudoephedrine and sell them for intention of producing meth); and restitution of expenses incurred in prosecuting meth labs.Alabama pharmacies are now required to use the NPLEx electronic point of purchase monitoring system, which restricts the sale of certain cold and allergy medicines containing PSE. The system makes digital record of PSE purchases and attempted purchases available to qualified law enforcement officials. “By using the NPLEx system, we’ve been able to keep a close eye on known drug dealers and restrict certain types of criminal activity,” Lockhart said. “This tool allows us to more effectively keep precursor ingredients out of the hands of people who intend to use them for illegal purposes. It also allows us to closely monitor anyone who might be buying, or attempting to purchase, PSE under suspicious conditions.”According to officials, the system blocked 101,739 sales of products containing PSE in Alabama in 2013. It’s safe to say at least some, if not many, of those blocks thwarted meth production. There were more than 1,000 blocked sales in Lee and Russell counties last year.Here are the most impressive numbers we learned Thursday. In 2010, the Chambers County Drug Task Force worked 88 meth labs. That number is down to one for the first eight months of 2014.The past few weeks have not been good in Chambers County regarding crime. Just a few weeks ago, law enforcement gathered in Lanett to discuss what they described as gang-related problems.Any good news is welcomed. The news that was shared Thursday certainly counts.