RALEIGH, N.C. North Carolina Governor Mike Easley has signed into law House Bill 248, the Meth Lab Prevention Act, which reduces access to pseudoephedrine and ephedrine, key ingredients used to make methamphetamine. The bill was supported by Attorney General Roy Cooper and sponsored by State Senator Walter Dalton (D) and State Representatives Jennifer Weiss (D) and Rick Glazier (D).
By placing restrictions on the ingredients needed to produce this dangerous drug, the new law will be an important weapon in our fight against meth, said Easley. Combined [image-nocss] with our tough criminal penalties, this bill puts North Carolina on the map as a state with zero tolerance for meth.
House Bill 248 will require that all single- and multi-source tablets containing pseudoephedrine and ephedrine, ingredients found in certain cold medications, be sold behind a pharmacy counter. Purchasers must be at least 18 years old, show photo ID and sign a log to buy these products.
The law will limit purchases of these products to no more than two packages at one time and no more than three packages within 30 days without a prescription. Most liquid and gel cap forms of these cold remedies will remain available for sale on store shelves because, according to the State Bureau of Investigation, there have been no meth labs reported in North Carolina that have used gels and liquids to make the drug. The North Carolina Commission for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities & Substance Abuse Services will, however, work with the AG's Office to determine what restrictions are appropriate to place on liquids and gels as a preventative measure.
Methamphetamine is our No. 1 enemy in the war on drugs and this new law attacks the problem at its source, said Dalton.
Under the new law, retailers of pseudoephedrine products will also be required to record information about each purchaser, and maintain records of these sales for at least two years. Training will also be provided for employees of establishments where pseudoephedrine products are sold.
The legislation will establish a 22-member Legislative Commission on Methamphetamine Abuse to study issues related to meth precursors, abuse and production and report annually to the General Assembly.
House Bill 248 was modeled after a similar meth law passed last year in Oklahoma. This law has reportedly helped to reduce meth labs in the state by 85%.