Iowa narcotics officers are concerned that a loophole in a state law intended to limit access to pseudoephedrine could mean an increase in meth production.
Ken Carter, director of the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, told the Des Moines Register that the law intended to prevent cookers from using over-the-counter medications containing pseudoephedrine to make meth had a fatal flaw.
Lt. Darren Grimshaw of the Burlington Police Department agreed. “The law has been real effective,” he told the Register. “But you give the bad guys long enough and they’ll find ways around the law.”
Grimshaw’s department has shut down six meth labs in the last four months.
“Before the 2005 law, we seized 25 to 30 labs a year. That dropped to three to five per year after the law but now it’s picking back up,” he said.
Under current Iowa law, purchases of pseudoephedrine are limited to no more than 7,500 milligrams per 30 days without prescription. Pharmacies are required to log purchases of the drug, but they are not required to share the information with other pharmacies.
“You can shop around. You can go to Hy-Vee, buy the limit and then head across the street to Walgreens,” Grimshaw said. “And what is happening is, these Meth producers are recruiting people to buy pseudoephedrine for them. They get 10 to 20 people, and they pay them $25 to $50 a box.” According to Grimshaw, some cookers also pay their pseudoephedrine buyers in product.
Iowa law enforcement and the governor have asked the legislature for a law requiring a statewide tracking system for pseudoephedrine purchases.