Press Releases

Washington, DC U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced that a new law going into effect tomorrow, September 30, should have a substantial impact on the nationwide fight against methamphetamine.

The “Combating Methamphetamine Epidemic Act,” sponsored by Senators Feinstein and Jim Talent (R-Mo) requires cold medications containing pseudoephedrine to be placed behind a pharmacy counter, requires signature and proof of identification before purchase, and limits the amount of pseudoephedrine that one person can buy in a single day or month. It also provides funding for education, prevention and treatment programs.

The measure was approved as part of the USA Patriot Act reauthorization, which was signed into law on March 9, 2006.

The following is a statement from Senator Feinstein:

“Across the country, toxic batches of meth are being cooked in makeshift labs set up in kitchens, basements, motel rooms, and cars. But what many people don’t know is that the key ingredient of this illicit drug – pseudoephedrine – is also the key ingredient in common cold pills, like Sudafed.

Previously, those seeking to make methamphetamine have been able to purchase the key ingredient for their deadly cocktail at the local pharmacy or convenience store. Meth makers will now will find it much more difficult to obtain the mass quantities of pseudoephedrine they need to make their deadly drug.

Methamphetamine can be found in cities rich and poor, urban and rural. Its cheap cost, simple production, and the availability of ingredients contribute to the growing epidemic. A standard, national law restricting the sale of pseudoephedrine will go far in reducing the number of meth labs sprouting up across our country.”

The Combat Meth Act:

  • Moves cold medicines with pseudoephedrine behind the counter;  
  • Limits how much of such medicines one person can buy in a month to 9 grams (300, 30 mg pills);
  • Limits how much one person can by in a day to 3.6 grams (120, 30 mg pills)
  • Exception of “single-use” sales, which are small amounts (2, 30 mg pills) of individually-packaged pseudoephedrine products;
  • Creates a new category of controlled chemical, called “controlled precursor chemicals,” to ensure that pseudoephedrine is handled safely and lawfully;
  • Requires signature and identification for purchases; and
  • Creates a national meth treatment center;
  • Authorizes $585 million for enforcement, training, and research into treatment:
    • Drug Court – Authorizes $70 million for FY 2006,
    • Meth Hot Spots Grants -- Authorizes $99 million for each 2006-2010, and
    • Grants for endangered Children -- Authorizes $20 million for each of FY 2006-2007;
  • Competitive Grants for programs involving pregnant and parenting women offenders: New program, such sums as needed.

The legislation also contains criminal law provisions, which lower the amounts which qualify a big-time drug lord to be treated as a drug kingpin, and thus subject to enhanced penalties.