How tracking cold medicine sales works in Kentucky
Have you ever wondered why you need to show your ID to purchase cold medicine? The state of Kentucky acted against suspicious cold medicine sales in the mid-00s by passing the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx). Pseudoephedrine is a key ingredient in both cold medicines and methamphetamines. This program was an attempt to slow both methamphetamine users and cooks from accessing the drug.
This program changed the way Kentuckians bought medicine and the way pharmacies sold them. Here were the significant changes:
- Quantity limits. This legislation limited citizens to purchasing 7.2 grams of products containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine or phenylpropanolamine without a prescription. That’s down from the previous limit of nine grams per month.
- Age restriction. People under 18 years old can no longer purchase cold medicines with these ingredients. This is akin to establishments checking I.D. for tobacco and alcohol.
- Five-year prohibition for drug offenders. Those convicted on methamphetamine charges can no longer purchase or possess these medicines within five years from then dates of their conviction, incarceration or parole/probation.
- Pharmacies held accountable. The new law required pharmacies to track sales of medicines with these ingredients and provide the Office of Drug Control with unlimited access to their records.
You can dispute a regulated cold medicine online if you feel wrongly denied of making a purchase.
An ongoing problem
Kentucky is one of 33 states to adopt pseudoephedrine tracking. The legislation came at a time when the state was dealing with a meth epidemic. Meth lab busts dropped from 100 in 2010 to only five in 2017. Yet, there is more work to do. Methamphetamines charges surpassed heroin and opiates combined in 2017 when police charged 1,000 with meth possession and 401 with trafficking.
Programs like NPLEx can help the situation but may not be the ultimate solution.