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Missouri pharmacies use system to track sale of meth ingredients

Posted at 4:34 PM, Jun 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-16 18:11:56-04

In an attempt to slow the growth of methamphetamine labs, pharmacies in the state of Missouri are now using the same electronic system to track the sale of meth’s key ingredient.

The system is called NPLEx, or National Precursor Log Exchange.

It’s being used at pharmacies all over to keep pseudoephedrine, an essential ingredient for meth, out of the wrong hands.

The drug is typically found in cold an allergy medicines.

“We were number one and number two for several years, this was very much a good solution that put the state on the right track to decreasing those meth lab numbers," said Jim Gwinner, Spokesperson for Consumer Healthcare Products Association. 

The way the system works, a customer looking to purchase pseudoephedrine will be asked for their driver’s license. It’s scanned and then the cashier can see if the customer has reached their limit.

“The 3.6 is the daily limit,” said Gwinner. 

NPLEx is a real-time, stop-sale system used in 33 states. Once a customer reaches the daily or monthly limit, the pharmacy would not be allowed to sell them the medication.

“In most of the ones that have been blocked, are like I said, normal people, everyday people, and they just had bought it last week and didn’t realize,” said pharmacist, Gina Mannino. 

Law enforcement would also be alerted. 

“Every transaction is visible to law enforcement,” said Gwinner. 

Last year alone, NPLEx stopped the sale of over 37,000 boxes of pseudoephedrine.

“The last several years we’ve seen approximately a 400 percent decline in the meth lab incidents around the state,” said Gwinner. 

The system doesn’t only cover the purchases made in Missouri. It can work across state lines in Kansas and in other states that have implemented it as well. 

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, 24 of the 33 states have seen reductions in meth labs after they started using NPLEx.