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Local police train with drug-tracking tool

3.30.15 – Tyler Langan, Quad Cities Argus/Dispatch

ROCK ISLAND — Local and state law enforcement officers met with the maker of an over-the-counter drug-tracking system Monday for a training session on how to combat methamphetamine labs.

The National Precursor Log Exchange program, or NPLEx, tracks — in real time — the sale of pseudoephedrine, a decongestant cold medication used to produce meth. Access to that information is free to law enforcement agencies.

State laws in Illinois, Iowa and 28 other states require pharmacies to report pseudoephedrine sales to the NPLEx system, Krista McCormick, an NPLEx account manager said before the training session.

“I think, for the most part, most law enforcement have used it in some form or fashion,” Ms. McCormick said.

Officers from the Hampton Police Department, Cedar Rapids Police Department, Illinois State Police and West Central Illinois Task Force attended the training session.

Hampton Police Chief Terry Engles said although his department doesn’t often bust meth labs, the training is useful for when it does.

“It’s just another avenue that the police department can use to keep an eye on and use as an investigative tool for those we might suspect of being involved in (meth),” he said.

NPLEx allows law enforcement agencies to search the database by buyer, address or pharmacy. Detective Chris Comeaux, of the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Department in Louisiana, demonstrated the systemMonday.

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