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Anti-meth bill working, NPLEx already producing results

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Just released January data collected by the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx) reveal impressive results for Tennessee in blocking unlawful sales of pseudoephedrine (PSE) at the sales counter.

Sponsors of the law are touting the results as proof Tennessee is at the forefront of the fight against meth.

NPLEx uses real-time, stop-sale technology to block PSE sales. NPLEx data also provides law enforcement officials with valuable data to assist in the apprehension of methamphetamine criminals. PSE, the active ingredient in many safe and effective medicines that treat common cold and allergy symptomsmedicines like Advil Cold & Sinus, Claritin-D, and Sudafed is also used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

In just one short month since the NPLEx was fully implemented in Tennessee, the electronic system has successfully blocked the sale of more than 4,993 illegal boxes of PSE, keeping more than 13,000 grams off of Tennessee streets.The system blocked 71 illegal boxes and kept 194 grams off the streets in Wilson County.

The NPLEx system also incorporates the newly instituted Tennessee Meth Offender Registry, a database which contains the names of 2,354 individuals who, due to previous meth-related offenses, are not permitted to purchase medicines containing PSE. In January, the NPLEx system kept 111 of those offenders from making 222 PSE purchases.

The NPLEx system was a key component of the multifaceted anti-meth bill sponsored by Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, and was co-sponsored by Reps. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, and Linda Elam, R-Mt. Juliet.

These numbers show that NPLEx is working to stop meth crimes before they happen, Beavers said. Not only does the electronic technology help law enforcement identify criminals, it also allows law-abiding Tennesseans to continue to purchase safe and effective cold and allergy medicines without a prescription.

NPLEx has blocked a large amount of illegal pseudoephedrine sales in its first month of implementation, Pody said. It is a valuable tool to track down the criminals who are manufacturing meth in Tennessee, while providing access to pseudoephedrine to allergy sufferers. I am very hopeful that this new law will continue to block sales to those who use this drug illegally for meth.

This bill takes a large step forward in addressing the problem of meth on the front end, before it has the opportunity to ruin the lives of those who use it or are exposed to it, Elam said. I hope we continue to see success with stopping meth as illegal manufacturers are added to the Registry.

Tennessee is one of 17 states that currently use NPLEx, which works across state lines, and tracks and stops illegal sales when the purchaser has exceeded his or her legal limit. As part of the comprehensive anti-meth bill, the law also:

Increases the penalty for making meth in the presence of children; Makes it easier to prosecute those who purchase medicines containing PSE at different times and places for the purpose of exceeding the allowable amount, or through use of false identification; and Imposes minimum mandatory fines on those offenders.

Gov. Bill Haslams Administration also provided an additional $750,000 in state appropriations to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and $280,000 in federal Byrne JAG grant funds from the state Office of Criminal Justice Programs available to the TBI.

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