Feinstein Announces Plans to Introduce Legislation to Ensure that Retailers Are Compliant with Combat Meth Act Requirements
Sep 17 2007
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced that she plans to introduce legislation later this week to address a problem that has arisen with the implementation of the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act.
The new legislation would require that distributors of pseudoephedrine products only sell to retailers who have filed self-certifications with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). These certifications attest to the fact that their employees are trained and in compliance with the Combat Meth Act.
In the first year since the law went into effect, DEA officials estimate that tens of thousands of retail establishments continue to sell cold medications containing pseudoephedrine without certifying that their employees are trained under the new law. Officials have also experienced difficulty identifying the non-complying stores.
“The goal of the Combat Meth Act was to move pseudoephedrine products behind the counter and make it harder for meth cooks to get the raw ingredients they need,” Senator Feinstein said.
“This effort has been largely successful. There is evidence that the number of meth labs in operation in the United States has decreased dramatically. Yet, meth remains a scourge. Much of the methamphetamine production and trafficking we face is now occurring in Mexico, but there are also retailers here in the United States who refuse to comply with the provisions of the Combat Meth Act.”
“So this bill seeks to take the next step – to require all retailers to certify that they are in compliance with the law. And if they don’t, they simply won’t be able to purchase pseudoephedrine products from distributors.”
Senator Feinstein was the lead Democratic sponsor of the original Combat Meth Act, which required that cold medications containing pseudoephedrine be placed behind a pharmacy counter, required signature and proof of identification before purchase, and limited the amount of pseudoephedrine that one person can buy in a single day or month.
That law also required that most retail sellers of pseudoephedrine products file a “self-certification,” attesting to their training of personnel about the law and its requirements such as behind-the-counter storage, logbook entries, and daily limits on sales.
The legislation Senator Feinstein intends to introduce next week would improve the effectiveness of the self-certification process by:
- Requiring all regulated persons engaged in retail sales of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine products to self-certify that they have trained their personnel and agree to comply with the Combat Meth Act (currently, mail-order retailers of these drugs are exempted from the self-certification requirement);
- Requiring distributors of these products to sell only to retailers who have filed such self-certifications;
- Requiring the DEA to publish the list all retailers who have filed such self-certifications, on the DEA’s website; and
- Clarifying that any retailer who negligently fails to file self-certifications as required can be subject to civil penalties.