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Learn more about the dangers of smurfing here

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Authorities join forces in anti-smurfing campaign

 The case against smurfing doesn’t have to do with little blue creatures who live among mushroom-shaped houses – at least to someone who doesn’t use allergy medicine to make methamphetamine.

Smurfing is the criminal practice of purchasing cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine and either knowingly or unknowingly selling it to meth cooks.

“You can’t have meth without (pseudoephedrine),” Payne County District Attorney Tom Lee said.

Several agencies, including the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, are joining in an effort to raise public awareness about anti-smurfing. The campaign is a public-private partnership developed by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. The anti-smurfing campaign launched in September.

Signs and handouts are displayed at pharmacies statewide, informing the public that smurfing is a serious criminal offense. The campaign is carried out by Oklahoma retailers voluntarily.

One of those retailers is Charlie’s Discount Drug in Stillwater. Local and state leaders met with store owner Debbi Hernandez on Thursday.

Hernandez publicly supports the campaign, saying she remembers the days when people would jump from store to store once their legal purchasing limit was met.

Pharmacists are able to tell when someone has purchased more than the legal limit of pseudoephedrine, 7.2 grams per month (no more than two 48-tablet boxes), because of a stop-sale database. When the pharmacists scan the buyer’s license, they are given the green light or not to sell the drug.

Sgt. Dale Higgins of the Stillwater Police Department had insight on what law enforcement are dealing with.