usa-map usa-map

Learn more about the dangers of smurfing here

Learn more

National database could curtail meth making

 SANGAMON COUNTY A national database which tracks the sale of over-the-counter cold medicine, could keep methamphetamine off the street. The system is being used in 30-states. WCIA-3’s Jessica Kunz has more. 

When you visit your neighborhood pharmacy, you’ve probably noticed, in recent years, some over-the-counter cold meds aren’t really "over-the-counter" anymore. Consumers have to ask for drugs containing pseudoephedrines and show ID’s to purchase them. 

Stores are tracking sales and the data can e a big help to law enforcement officials. Dozens of undercover officers are learning new ways to keep meth off the street. 

"We know, if someone did some prison time for methamphetamines, they’re probably going to do it again. It’s very important we have that kind of archived information that we can draw on immediately." 

Officers sat down with the creators of the nationwide database NPLEx. Just this year alone, the system blocked the sale of nearly 100,000 grams of pseudoephedrines in the state. 

"When a consumer comes in, they show their ID, the pharmacist swipes it, it hits the NPLEx database, we report back instantaneously ‘yes,sell’ or ‘no, don’t sell.’" 

But now, the officers know how to use the technology across state lines. Investigators can track nationwide sales and this will help with tracking meth-makers. 

"Not just what they’re doing in Illinois or Sangamon County. It’s what they’re doing across the country." 

While meth-related arrests in Sangamon County have decreased recently, officials say knowing how the database works will prevent meth manufacturing from getting out of control.

"I suspect we’re going to see some again, and we’re going to utilize this system more in the future than what we’ve done in the recent past." 

In 2009, Illinois’ lawmakers passed legislation which put NPLEx in nearly 3,000 pharmacies across the state.