Details Emerge on Indiana Meth Legislation

C-stores, truckstops exempt if they sell small-dose packages

INDIANAPOLIS -- Scot Imus, executive director of the Indiana Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association (IPCA), has responded to a CSP Daily News report concerning legislation in Indiana that would restrict the sale of cold medicines containing ingredients used to make methamphetamine, which unanimously passed both chambers of the Indiana General Assembly last Friday, and which has gone to Governor Mitch Daniels for his signature.

Stores without pharmacies would be required to keep the drugs in a locked case or behind a counter. Those with [image-nocss] pharmacies also could have the drugs within sight of a pharmacy employee, if there was 24-hour video surveillance.

Convenience stores could choose one of four options of securing its drugs, including placing anti-theft devices on the packages.

Customers would be limited to 3 gramsabout 100 tabletsof the medicines per week and would have to show a state or federal ID and sign a logbook to make the purchases. The restrictions would begin July 1.

The new law will totally exempt convenience stores, hotel/airport gift shops and truckstops from the onerous record-keeping/storage requirements if they sell the product in single or double-dose packaging, identified in the bill as convenience packages, Imus told CSP Daily News. We recognized that most of our members currently sell cold medicines in this type of packaging, but most importantly, we recognized that those that illegally divert these products would not be buying 1,000 single dose packages to get the typical number of pills necessary to manufacture methamphetamine.

According to Imus, under Indiana's new bill, a total 120 milligrams of pseudoephedrine can be sold in convenience packaging in any one transaction. This could be accomplished by buying two single-dose packages or one package that contains a double dose. The retailer would also have to either keep the medicines in direct line of sight and no more than 30 feet away from the cashier, have the medicines under constant video monitoring, attach an anti-theft device to the packages or keep it in restrictive shelving.

We believe most retailers already store these products in close proximity to the cashier, or use video monitoring, he said.

Indiana is among the first to take this common sense approach, said Imus. It could be a reasonable compromise for those facing similar restrictions in other states.

To convince anti-meth advocates to exempt convenience packaging, he offered the following scenarios:

Hotel gift shops. An out of town business traveler gets a massive allergy attack. They should be able to simply go to the hotel gift shop and buy a single/double dose packet as opposed to getting in a cab and finding a 24-hour pharmacy, which in many urban areas is hard to do after business hours. Airport gift shops. Suppose a traveler is flying from coast to coast and develops a massive sinus headache waiting to board a flight. They can no longer get a single dose of Tylenol Sinus from the gift shop, but instead has to suffer for the duration of their trip. Truckstops. A cross-country trucker stops for the night at the end of his legal driving day and has developed a cold. He needs Nyquil to get a good night sleep, but can no longer buy it at the truck stop. What is he to do? Get back in his truck and drive through an unfamiliar area to find a pharmacy that is open?

We strongly supported the efforts to keep these drugs out of the hands of criminals, but we also were able to convince policymakers that cold pills sold in convenience packaging are not part of the methamphetamine problem, concluded Imus.