ALBANY, N.Y.—Legislation sponsored by State Senator David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) assisting law enforcement in combating the threat to public health and safety surrounding methamphetamine production passed the Senate today. The growing use and manufacture of the illegal and highly addictive drug methamphetamine is particularly pervasive in rural counties in Upstate New York.
A particular problem has been the purchase of precursor ingredients that can be found in medicines containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine available over the counter in retail establishments. While federal law regarding purchase limits for these products has been helpful to law enforcement when investigating persons suspected of manufacturing methamphetamine, at present no such provisions exist in state law, hampering local law enforcement and district attorneys’ efforts.
“Local law enforcement brought to my attention that meth producers were skirting the purchase limits in pharmacies and drugstores, and asked if there was a legislative solution,” Senator Valesky said. “This bill is intended to make it difficult for would-be producers to find the ingredients needed to make meth, and therefore decrease production of the drug itself.”
Senator Valesky’s legislation (S.4652):
- Limits the over-the-counter sale to packages containing not more than 3.6 grams of one or more methamphetamine precursor drugs, not to exceed 9 grams within a 30-day period;
- Requires the buyer to show photo identification and sign a written or electronic logbook;
- Requires a retailer, before completing a sale, to electronically submit information to a real-time, stop-sale system administered by the division of state police, provided free of charge to retailers; and
- Imposes a civil fine on retailers that knowingly ignore the stop-sale alert.
Last year, federal authorities worked with local and state law enforcement in Central New York to charge 16 people with illegally purchasing cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine. Investigators were able to track the purchases by combing through paper logbooks. Senator Valesky’s legislation would eliminate this time-consuming process by preventing the purchases and identifying those attempting to purchase illegal amounts in real time.
“This legislation will clearly hamper methamphetamine producers around the state. The investigations surrounding meth production are very time consuming, and the process of law enforcement chasing down and documenting purchases made by producers or their associates will be much more efficient,” Allen Riley, Madison County Sheriff, said. “I commend Senator Valesky for sponsoring such legislation that will greatly help law enforcement officials in combating the production of meth here in our county and across the state.”