Joined by lawmakers, law enforcement officials and pharmacists, Attorney General Lisa Madigan today unveiled two initiatives aimed at curtailing the rise of new production methods of methamphetamine in Illinois.
Madigan visited three Illinois communities that are among the hardest hit by the meth epidemic, where authorities have seen an emergence of small-scale meth production techniques that make the drug harder to detect. Meeting with officials in Quincy, Cahokia and Danville, Madigan said she will work with state Sen. William Haine and Rep. Jerry Costello II in the Legislature’s upcoming veto session to extend the program that allows pharmacies to block illegal sales of pseudoephedrine, the key meth ingredient. The Attorney General also unveiled a new awareness campaign targeting people who buy pills for meth cooks.
Despite these successes, Madigan said drug users have adapted, turning to so-called “one-pot” or “shake ‘n bake” meth production, which can be accomplished using legal amounts of pseudoephedrine. They use small amounts of pseudoephedrine to mix the drug in two-liter plastic bottles, which produces three to seven grams of the drug.
To fight this emergence of small-scale meth production, Madigan, Haine and Costello will work to amend the law during the fall session in Springfield to make permanent a pilot system used by pharmacies to track the sale of pseudoephedrine. The system, which has operated since June 2010 and is set to expire in January, allows pharmacies to block pseudoephedrine sales if the sale would exceed the legal purchase amount allowed by law.
The system has been a key tool to target meth users and drug makers. From June 2010 to the present, pharmacies used the system to block the sale of more than 70,000 boxes of pseudoephedrine-based cold medication. The system also allows law enforcement to target pill shoppers traveling from pharmacy to pharmacy to purchase legal pseudoephedrine amounts and stockpile the ingredient to make meth.