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Learn more about the dangers of smurfing here

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Current Laws

Today, federal law places strict purchasing limits on daily and monthly sales of pseudoephedrine (PSE), and requires retailers and pharmacists to keep purchase records so law enforcement officials can check to see who is purchasing illegal quantities of PSE. A number of states have similar laws in place.

2005 Federal Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act

  • Regulates over–the–counter sales of medicines containing PSE.
  • Mandates daily (3.6 grams) and 30 day (9 grams) purchase limits, and requires PSE medications to be kept where only store personnel can access them.
  • Requires stores to keep records of all PSE purchases for two years and make them available to law enforcement upon request.

Placing sales limits on PSE medicines makes sense, but a system is needed to better enforce the limits. Under the current system, which only requires stores to keep paper records, there is no way to stop meth cooks from making multiple purchases at a number of different stores, or even crossing state lines to illegally acquire PSE and evade detection. The act of making multiple small purchases to evade the law is often called “smurfing.”

Currently, 35 states have adopted real-time, stop-sale technology.1 These systems process PSE sales much like a credit card transaction, declining sales that would put a purchaser over the legal limit, no matter where a previous purchase was made.


1. AL, AR, AZ, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MI, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NV, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA,VT, WA, WI, WV.