Feb 12 2008
Washington, DC – The Senate has approved legislation by U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) requiring all retailers of pseudoephedrine products to verify that they have trained their staff in the regulations of the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act.
Under this legislation, distributors of pseudoephedrine products may only sell to retailers who have filed self-certifications with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), or to retailers who are DEA registrants. Self-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 estimated that tens of thousands of retail establishments continued 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-
The legislation approved Monday night will address reporting flaws with the original Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act, enacted in 2006.
“There is strong evidence that the number of meth labs in America has decreased dramatically since the Combat Meth Act went into effect in 2006. Simply put, if meth cookers can’t get hold of large quantities of pseudoephedrine, they can’t mix their deadly chemicals,” Senator Feinstein said.
“But the law had a loophole. This loophole allowed retailers to continue to sell products containing pseudoephedrine -- without showing that their employees were complying with the law’s requirements. This legislation will close that loophole. It will require all retailers to certify that they are in compliance with the law. If they aren’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.
Meth lab seizures have fallen dramatically since the enactment of the Combat Meth Act, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. This office reports that from January 2007 to October 11, 2007, authorities seized 1,802 meth labs in the United States, down from 4,002 labs seized 2006 and 5,935 labs seized in 2005.
Following is a summary of the Combat Methamphetamine Enhancement Act:
- Requires that everyone engaged in the sale of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine products, both in stores and on-line, certify that they have trained their employees in the requirements of the Combat Meth Act, and agree to comply with the law;
- Requires distributors of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine products to sell only to retailers who have meet the law’s certification requirements, or are registered with the DEA and licensed to sell controlled substances;
- Requires DEA to post on its Web site a database of self-certified retailers;
- Clarifies that any retailer who negligently fails to file self-certifications as required can be subject to civil penalties.
The Combat Methamphetamine Enhancement Act was originally co-sponsored by Senators Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.).