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Anti-Smurfing Campaign Launched in Tennessee to Combat Meth

Press release from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association; October 22, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn.–State Senator Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, joined representatives from the Tennessee Pharmacists Association, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), and other state leaders to announce the launch of Tennessee’s statewide Anti-Smurfing Campaign in Nashville. The voluntary educational campaign aims to increase public awareness about the criminal enterprise known as “smurfing” — the practice of purchasing cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine (PSE) to sell to methamphetamine cooks.

The Anti-Smurfing Campaign informs consumers through signage displayed at the point of sale that smurfing is a serious criminal offense and an integral part of the methamphetamine- production process. As a result, the simple act of buying certain cold or allergy products for a stranger can fuel Tennessee’s methamphetamine problem.

“Anyone in Tennessee’s law enforcement community will tell you that smurfing remains one of the biggest challenges in the battle against methamphetamine production and abuse,” said state Senator Mae Beavers. “The launch of Tennessee’s Anti-Smurfing Campaign proves that state leaders are willing to join forces with the manufacturers of over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines to remind all Tennesseans that purchasing these items for a meth cook is a felony and will lead to jail time.”

“One crucial step toward eliminating Tennessee’s meth cooks and dealers is public education,” Beavers said. “The Anti-Smurfing Campaign is intended to do just that. I am confident it will make criminals think twice before making any unlawful pseudoephedrine purchases.”

The public-private partnership was developed by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), a national association representing the makers of over-the-counter medicines, and is carried out by Tennessee retailers on a voluntary basis. CHPA tested anti-smurfing posters to ensure that they communicate impactful messaging without deterring legitimate consumers.

The Tennessee Pharmacists Association has already begun distributing Anti-Smurfing signage to retailers across the state. For more information on the campaign, please visit Meth-KnowTheConsequences.Org.

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TN Pharmacists: Hawk’s Pseudophedrine Bill Wrongly Punishes Cold & Allergy Suffers

Press release from the Tennessee Pharmacists Association; January 31, 2013:

The following statement can be attributed to Baeteena Black, executive director of the Tennessee Pharmacists Association, in response to legislation (HB 0368) filed Jan. 30 by Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, that would require Tennessee consumers to obtain a prescription for medications containing pseudoephedrine, such as Advil Cold and Sinus and Sudafed.

“The legislation filed today by Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, punishes the vast majority of cold and allergy sufferers by making them go to the time and expense of obtaining a prescription from their physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner.

“The Tennessee Pharmacists Association strongly supports use of the National Precursor Log Exchange, the real-time, point-of-sale, tracking system put into place in Tennessee in January of 2012. That system ensures that our customers and patients continue to have access to the nonprescription cold and allergy medicines of their choice so they can effectively treat their symptoms without having to miss family or work obligations. In addition, this system provides law enforcement with access to valuable information about sales of pseudoephedrine-containing products.

“Our organization remains opposed to legislation that would require law-abiding Tennesseans to obtain a doctor’s prescription to purchase these safe and effective medicines. It’s critically important for our leaders to give NPLEx time to work.

“We all agree that methamphetamine abuse is a serious problem that should be eradicated. Solving the problem is going to require cooperation from many groups including law enforcement and the Tennessee General Assembly. TPA and its members remain committed to working on this serious problem but believe mandating a prescription for these everyday medications is not the solution.”