From WILL - News Headlines -

Illinois Lawmakers Seek to Update Meth Law

Attorney General Lisa Madigan stopped in Danville on Wednesday to talk about tightening up a law that tracks the sale of pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in the production of methamphetamine.

The Methamphetamine Precursor Control Act, which was established in 2006, sets up restrictions for consumers who purchase more than two packages of pseudoephedrine products at a time or products with more than 7,500 milligrams of pseudoephedrine in a 30-day period. Madigan said those restrictions helped cut the number of meth labs in the state in half from 2006 to 2007.

"When meth first hit our communities, we hit back hard to drive meth makers and users out of Illinois," Madigan said in a statement. "But meth is a unique drug. It's like a virus that mutates, so we must retool our responses to how this drug is made."

Still, Madigan said drug users have pursued "one-pot" or "shake 'n bake" meth production, which can be accomplished using legal amounts of pseudoephedrine.

To address problems surrounding small-scale meth production, lawmakers are working to update a pilot system used by pharmacies to track the sale of pseudoephedrine permanent. That system, which has operated since June 2010 and is set to expire in January, allows pharmacies to block pseudoephedrine sales that exceed the legal purchasing amount.

State Rep. Chad Hays (R-Catlin) joined Madigan in Danville on Wednesday. Hays said the revised law will not only track people who buy more than the legal limit of pseudoephedrine products, but it will also check purchasing patterns of people who buy that substance at different stores over a short period of time.

"It really gives law enforcement a better tool to track frequent flyers if you will who are setting up a pattern of purchasing this substance for the intent of producing methamphetamine," Hays said.

In Illinois, customers must show a photo identification and sign a purchasing log maintained by pharmacies whenever they buy it.

The state this week also unveiled a marketing plan where posters will be placed in pharmacies across the state warning people to be aware of pill buyers for meth users or producers.

Madigan made stops throughout the day in Quincy and Cahokia. She was joined today by Sens. William Haine (D-Alton) and John Sullivan (D-Rushville), and Reps. Jerry Costello II (D-Smithton) and Jil Tracy (R-Quincy). Also in attendance were representatives of the Illinois Sheriff's Association, the Illinois State Police, Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, Illinois Retail Merchants Association, Illinois Pharmacists Association, Illinois State's Attorneys Association, Illinois Department of Corrections, the Meth Project, and law enforcement in Adams, St. Clair and Vermilion counties.