Office of National Drug Control Policy

ONDCP Excel Seventy-Eighth Row

Action Item Number: 
Action Item Name: 
Counter Domestic Methamphetamine Production
Action Item Description: 

Current Federal and most State laws to control pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient needed to make the most powerful form of methamphetamine, are no longer as effective in addressing the serious threat posed by domestic methamphetamine production as they once were.

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Drug traffickers and others are now evading these laws and domestically producing methamphetamine in increasing quantities. Teams of pseudoephedrine purchasers, known as “smurfers,” go from store-to-store throughout California and many other states, some even using global positioning system (GPS) devices to map out every location. This smurfing is feeding not only small neighborhood user labs, but also large-scale “super labs” run by drug-trafficking organizations in California. Although it is important to consider the public health benefits of convenient public access to cold medicines such as pseudoephedrine, domestic meth labs pose serious health and safety risks to the public, law enforcement, and children forced to live in or near such toxic environments. In an effort to address this growing threat, some states are now using comprehensive electronic pseudoephedrine sales monitoring systems. However, those efforts have been unable to prevent a resurgence of small-scale meth production in several states. Facing a similar threat, the State of Oregon, in 2006, returned pseudoephedrine to a prescription drug, as it was prior to 1976. Three years later, the results are very encouraging (see Update below). In early 2010, Mississippi enacted a similar law. In light of recent trends, DOJ will conduct a review of how to best enhance our Nation’s approach to countering domestic meth production, including careful consideration of whether our Federal laws must be updated. In addition, NDIC will continue to monitor and report strategic trends in methamphetamine production and precursor chemical smurfing through production of the annual National Methamphetamine Threat Assessment.

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