Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Missouri pharmacies selling new version of decongestant, which can't be used to make meth

Pharmacies in Missouri have started selling a new version of a popular decongestant, one that can't be used to make methamphetamine. Pseudoephedirne, a key ingredient in meth, crystallizes when heated, a key process in making the illegal drug. The new form of pseudoephedrine, Zephrex-D, turns to goo when heated, making it impossible to use for meth production.

Missouri has been hit hard by the meth epidemic, which is mostly concentrated in rural areas. The state has led the U.S. in meth-lab busts in all but one year since 2003, Jim Salter of The Associated Press reports. Zephrex-D is on sale in pharmacies in St. Louis, and in Walmart stores in other Missouri towns.

Emilie Dolan, spokesman for Highland Pharmaceuticals, which makes Zephrex-D, told Salter the new drug could be sold across the country within a year. The Drug Enforcement Agency has been reviewing Zephrex-D, but the status of testing isn't yet clear. Federal law requires medicines containing pseudoephedrine to be kept behind pharmacy counters, and in Mississippi and Oregon, a prescription is required for such medicines. Kentucky limits monthly purchases of the drug.  (Read more)

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