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Meth Producers Adjust to Tracking Laws by Recruiting Pill Buyers

Law enforcement has been cracking down on the sales of cold medicine after national concern was raised over the use of methamphetamine in the U.S. According to research by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the number of meth-related activities has increased in the past few years.

Drug manufacturers began to turn to over-the-counter cold medicine, which has several necessary ingredients for making meth. States began to realize what was happening and started tracking who was purchasing cold medicine, setting limits on the amount that one individual could buy. In response, drug manufacturers started to recruit people to buy pills for them. But if someone is caught purchasing cold medicine for a drug manufacturer, is that considered a drug offense?

Some believe that the tracking laws have created an underground drug market where thousands of people are buying cold medicine and selling it to drug manufacturers. Police are trying to shift some of their efforts towards catching these individuals, in addition to trying to arrest meth producers.

The article does not mention this, but what penalties exist for those who are caught buying cold medicine for drug production purposes? Is that considered possession with intent to deliver? Being charged with intent to deliver is considered a felony in Wisconsin and can lead to serious consequences.

How are states establishing a penalty system? It doesn't seem like getting caught buying cold medicine should result in the same sentence as getting caught with drugs like cocaine or marijuana. Research has shown that some of the people who are buying cold medicine are just trying to earn some money. Does that mean they should be charged with a felony?

Source: The Associated Press online, "AP IMPACT: Meth flourishes despite tracking laws," 10 January 2011

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