An effort to prevent meth being manufactured has reached pharmacies across the country. They’re using an alternative drug which doesn’t contain a necessary component used to make meth. This new drug isn’t exactly available everywhere.
It hit the market in December so it’s fairly new, which explains why many Pharmacies we called in Aroostook county don’t carry it or haven’t heard of it. It’s called Nexafed. It’s an alternative to Sudafed which many abusers will use to manufacture methamphetamine.
What makes Nexafed difficult next to impossible to cook up meth out of, is that it breaks down into a sticky gel that prevents extraction.
What normally gets extracted that’s necessary for meth is pseudoephedrine. It’s a component that leaves pharmacies worried about who actually needs the allergy relief, or who has other plans for it’s use.
John Hebert, a pharmacist at the city drug in Presque Isle says, “Now we have a national database so we enter that information into a computer which tells immediately on spot weather that person is eligible weather they’ve met their daily thresholds or monthly thresholds, at that point we can make the sale.”
The national database keeps track of all purchases at every store. That’s where another problem arises which hits the county.
Caribou Police Officer Cody Saucier says, “criminals, people with a criminal history they don’t want to go in there and give out that information — sometimes a person will try to go get somebody else’s scripts and the pharmacy is quick to call the police department and let them know this guy is here to pick up somebody else’s medication.”
According to some reports, Nexafed is comparable to pseudoephedrine products in price and effectiveness. That’s one selling point that pharmacists will have to convey if they choose to carry Nexafed and join the effort to prevent drug misuse. In fact, we turned one pharmacy on to it during a phone call in our search for information, as they told us they’ll be ordering Nexafed after our discussion on it’s alternative benefit which is preventing the manufacturing of meth.
Hebert says, “it would cause hundreds of dollars of over the counter sudafed product in nexafed form to create a few dollars of methenphedamine on the street.
Some pharmacists say there are other alternatives as well to Sudafed besides the new Nexafad, but they say some customers find it less potent for nasal congestion and other purposes. The national database began started with the “Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005.”