Washington adopts e-tracking as a way to fight meth production - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Washington adopts e-tracking as a way to fight meth production

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YAKIMA, Wash. -- Governor Christine Gregoire signs legislation aimed at controlling meth production. It tracks the sale of pseudoephedrine the key drug used to make meth, the most prevalent drug in Eastern Washington.

Currently, all products with pseudoephedrine are behind the pharmacy counter and it takes a valid ID to purchase them but, meth producers find ways around the restrictions and law enforcement is trying to catch-up.

Pharmacists already strictly control the sale of medicine containing pseudoephedrine.

"Then it tells you exactly how many tablets there are in nine grams," said Terry Dahlin, pharmacist at Tieton Village Drug, as he showed the rules every pharmacist has to follow.

There are rules on the amount of medicine purchased as well as restrictions on the time span between purchases. But, illegal manufacturers have found ways around this.

"They each buy their one package, but if they do it at ten to 15 different pharmacies and it's seven or eight people doing it you've got quite a load of medicine, which you can then turn into meth," said Dahlin.

There's nothing to stop people from buying at every pharmacy in town that's why legislators passed House Bill 2961. An e-tracking data base of pseudoephedrine sales will let pharmacists know who's already purchased the legal limit of the drugs and let officers track whose attempting to buy in mass quantities before they've made off with it.

"It's real time and we will know if that person just made a purchase of a legally acceptable amount, but you add all those together you're talking precursor," said Lt. Mike Merryman, Yakima Police Department.

Washington is the tenth state to adopt e-tracking as a way to fight meth production. As far as privacy concerns the e-tracking data base will only collect personal information already required by federal law.