Meth Drug Trade Not Stopped by Cold Medicine Electronic Sales System

Over the last few years customers of local pharmacies have had to obtain cold medicine by taking a slip of paper stocked in the medicine aisle to a pharmacist where the over-the-counter drug would be tracked via an electronic tracking system. The purpose of the electronic system was to monitor the buyer’s legal limit of pseudoephedrine, a cold medicine used to make methamphetamine, and to reduce the number of drug crimes associated with the creation of meth.

According to new federal information, the electronic monitoring system and legal limit of pseudoephedrine have not been as successful as hoped and has created a new black economy. Instead of curbing the flow of cold medicine used to create meth, the electronic system has created a boom in demand for pseudoephedrine and has pushed the black market price of the drug significantly north. A box of pseudoephedrine pills can be purchased at a pharmacy for $7 or $8 and sold on the black market for $40 or $50.

The legal limit and electronic tracking system which was created to impede the obtainment of cold medicine apparently has backfired as individuals, who are not tempted by meth, purchase the cold medicine in order to make a quick buck. “Where else can you make 750 percent profit in 45 minutes?” asks a police detective from Missouri. Since tracking laws were created in 2006, the number of drug crimes involving meth is back on the climb.

Supporters of the tracking laws say the laws make it easier for police to identify people involved in the production of meth. The law’s detractors say it has created more criminals because more people are involved in the meth production process. Before the law when meth producers could purchase as many pills as they wanted, the production process often involved only one person. Now, meth producers enlist the help of any interested party.

Source: The Associated Press, “AP Impact: Meth Flourishes Despite Tracking Laws,” 1/10/11

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Minnesota recently passed a public safety bill that brings sweeping changes to the state’s juvenile justice system. While minors sometimes run afoul of the law, the juvenile justice system seeks to account for the differences between children and adults. Therefore, while the penalties for adults convicted of crimes focus on punishment, those for juveniles are aimed at diversion and restorative practices.
If a county medical examiner’s work is called into question in one case, it can affect all those they were a part of. An independent review is underway of murder cases involving the testimony of the long-time medical examiner in Ramsey County, Minnesota. The review comes in response to a wrongful murder conviction that was recently vacated on the basis that the medical examiner gave flawed medical testimony.
You might ask how plea bargains work if you are considering settling your criminal case by skipping the trial phase. A plea bargain in Minneapolis, MN, happens when a criminal defendant agrees to plead guilty or no contest instead of having the prosecution prove his or her guilt at trial. The prosecution agrees to reduce the charges, recommend less harsh penalties, or drop the charges altogether in exchange for a guilty plea.