Press Releases

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has introduced legislation to address a problem that has arisen with the implementation of the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act by requiring that all retailers of pseudoephedrine products verify that they have trained their staff in the regulations. 

Under the proposed legislation, distributors of pseudoephedrine products could 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. 

“Since the Combat Meth Act went into effect last year, we’ve seen evidence that the number of meth labs in operation in the United States has decreased dramatically.  If meth cooks can’t obtain large amounts of pseudoephedrine, then they can’t mix their deadly cocktails,” Senator Feinstein said. 

“Yet, meth remains a scourge and we need to stay vigilant.  So this bill seeks to plug a hole found in the current law by requiring 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 Combat Methamphetamine Enhancement Act, introduced yesterday evening, 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.

The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Hillary Clinton, (D-N.Y.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.).

###