People buying pseudoephedrine must register - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

People buying pseudoephedrine must register

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- The electronic tracking of the sale of pseudoephedrine is a reality in Iowa, as of Wednesday.

A new Iowa law took full effect September 1, when all pharmacies in the state had to have a new electronic system up and running. This online database is a real-time logbook meant to track the sale of pseudoephedrine, as a means of curbing meth production.

"You have to have the pseudoephedrine to manufacture methamphetamines," Sgt. Dale Snyder with the Dubuque County Sheriff's Department drug task force said. "There is no substitute for it right now in our area."

"A lot of products have been reformulated to contain phenylephrine, which is a substance that can't be made into methamphetamine," Mercy Hospital pharmacist Dave Streng said.

Those medicines that do contain pseudoephedrine, Streng said, include Sudafed, Claritin-D and certain Tylenol products.

Streng also said that people seeking to buy these over-the-counter products for legitimate, occasional illnesses very likely won't hit the limit.

"If a person is having a lot of problems with colds or sinuses after using a certain amount of a product, they should probably check with their physician to make sure they don't have an infection," Streng said.

Sgt. Snyder said some states already use the online database system and others are joining later this year. The goal is to be able to monitor purchases across state borders.

The legal limit of pseudoephedrine people are allowed to buy is 360 milligrams per 24-hours, up to 7,500 milligrams in a 30-day period.

Pseudoephedrine went behind the counter at pharmacies in May of 2005. Customers have been required to present government-issued photo identification when buying the products.

The new statewide electronic log is a result of state legislation approved during the late winter and early spring of 2009.

Online Reporter: Becca Habegger

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