Stop meth at the source

The production and distribution of illegal drugs isn’t a new phenomenon — people continue to find more and more ways to produce addictive and harmful substances. One of the most widespread drugs today is methamphetamine, which is raging throughout affluent and poor communities alike. Making meth is a fairly cheap and easy process, leading to the rise of homemade meth labs.

Sadly, methamphetamine abuse is a problem we are dealing with here in Shelby County and throughout the state and country. That’s why we’re glad to see our local officials being proactive to try to stop meth production.

We applaud State Sen. Slade Blackwell, who, as a member of the Senate Health Committee in the Alabama Legislature, helped make it a felony to purchase medicines containing ephedrine with the intent to use those medicines to produce meth.

The state also has a new system that requires anyone purchasing medicines with ephedrine to show a valid ID, which is then logged and entered into a statewide database that tracks how much ephedrine each individual buys. The limit is 7.5 grams of ephedrine per month per individual. When pharmacists enter a customer’s information into the database, they get immediate confirmation of how much ephedrine the customer has already bought that month — allowing pharmacists to immediately approve or deny a purchase.

Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry said the database and ephedrine purchasing limits are giving pharmacists a way to fight back against meth producers.

“The method of producing meth is becoming simpler and more mobile,” Curry said. “If we can limit access to the necessary ingredients (of meth), then we can affect the quantity of production.”

If we can try to stop the drug from being made in the first place, it’ll save us much money, time and heartache in the long run. We’d rather see meth producers foiled than see the horrid fruits of their labor — meth users in prison or dead. We applaud Shelby County’s law enforcement officials, legislators, pharmacists and other officials for helping to do just that.

The We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.