Madigan, Trent Scold Ill. C-Stores

Better compliance effort needed on meth laws in convenience channel, they say

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Following the first statewide check to determine whether retailers are complying with a new law intended to restrict the sale of methamphetamine precursors, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Illinois State Police Director Larry Trent said pharmacies are doing a good job of complying with the law, but further efforts must be made to ensure that convenience stores and mini-marts fully comply.

This compliance check shows that the law has had a great impact on how pharmacies handle these products. The check also shows that we [image-nocss] have work to do in providing education and outreach to convenience store owners, Madigan said. The problem is that meth makers know they can go to convenience stores to buy the meth precursors they need. That's why our education and outreach efforts are so critical. We can't have any holes in the wall we have built against the manufacture of meth.

Restricting access to methamphetamine precursors is a critical component in our statewide effort to slow the spread of this destructive drug, Trent said. The Illinois State Police and our six meth response teams will continue working to keep precursors away from meth cooks and to keep meth labs away from our children and out of our communities.

The sweep, conducted during a four-day period between May 8 and 11, focused on the effectiveness of the Methamphetamine Precursor Control Act, which took effect Jan. 15, 2006. The law makes pseudoephedrine and ephedrineboth key ingredients in methschedule V controlled substances. It requires that all single and multi-active ingredient products, tablets, liquids and gel caps be placed behind the counter. Although customers wishing to purchase such products do not need a prescription, they must display a photo ID and sign a log.

Madigan proposed the measure, which was introduced in the Illinois House by State Representative John Bradley (D) and in the Senate by State Senator William Haine (D).

Investigators from Madigan's office and the ISP visited 462 randomly selected stores across the state. The investigators divided the state into the seven ISP investigative zones to be checked for compliance and visited both stand-alone and in-store pharmacies, as well as mini-marts and c-storesall places where ephedrine and pseudoephedrine products may be sold.

Of the 271 pharmacies found to sell pseudoephedrine products, 260 were compliant. Of the 75 c-stores found to sell pseudoephedrine products, only nine were compliant. C-stores were most often found to be noncompliant due to the failure to maintain logs, the unlawful display of PSE products on the shelf or the sale of products in excess of the legal limit. In many cases, all three violations were present.

Madigan said her office will concentrate its efforts on conducting additional compliance checks focused on c-stores and increasing knowledge and understanding of the laws by reaching out to c-stores and to distributors that sell products to c-stores. In addition to ongoing education and compliance checks, Madigan's office will enforce the penalty provisions of the law against retailers found to be noncompliant.

Of the 462 stores visited across the state, 346 were found to sell ephedrine or pseudoephedrine products.

To view the compliance rates for stores found to be selling those products, broken down by zones, click on the "Download Now" button below.

Click here to view the Madigan's MethNet web page.