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National Database Blocks 20,000 Pseudoephedrine Sales In Oklahoma So Far This Year

A customer picks up her prescription at the pharmacy counter inside Walgreens at 1400 E. Second St. in Edmond.
Brent Fuchs
The Journal Record
A customer picks up her prescription at the pharmacy counter inside Walgreens at 1400 E. Second St. in Edmond.

In the first six months of 2016, a database helped block 20,000 sales of pseudoephedrine in Oklahoma.

The popular cold medicine is a key ingredient in the manufacture of methamphetamine, and pharmacy counter sales are blocked if the buyer shows up on a national database. The National Precursor Log Exchange, or NPLEx, includes names of people with methamphetamine-related convictions and buying histories, The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt reports:

State Rep. Mike Ritze, who supported Oklahoma’s involvement in the exchange, said the numbers show the program works. “We felt like this program, if it’s fully implemented, it would be highly successful and would make a big dent in the illegal use of pseudoephedrine,” said Ritze, R-Broken Arrow. An early proposal would have banned the sale of pseudoephedrine without a doctor’s prescription. “As a physician, I felt like that was really overstepping what we needed to do,” he said. “Seeing the success of (NPLEx) in other states, we felt like that after it was fully implemented it wouldn’t punish the honest citizen that obtains a very inexpensive cold medication for personal use.”

Since 2011, the number of meth labs found by police has fallen by 88 percent, and meth lab seizures are down 70 percent since last year.

From Denwalt:

“The program is working and it’s not punishing the citizen that is the person who needs it for honest and legal use, and not the criminal,” he said. “It’s just a short-term and a small amount. They don’t go in and try to buy 100 boxes all at once like your meth-lab people do.” According to the company that operates the NPLEx database, blocked sales accounted for about 4.6 percent of all boxes of pseudoephedrine sold.

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Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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