ILLINOIS METHAMPHETAMINE PRECURSOR CONTROL ACT OFFERS HOPE
IN THE FIGHT AGAINST METH LABS
Legislation signed into law in the fall of 2005 will change the
way pseudoephedrine and ephedrine are displayed and sold. The bill was drafted
by the Office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and sponsored by a
bipartisan group of legislators. This new law, the Methamphetamine Precursor
Control Act (MPCA), will greatly help Illinois in the fight against the spread
In 2004, Madigan proposed the Methamphetamine Manufacturing Chemical Retail
Sale Control Act (MMCRSCA), an important first step in the fight against meth.
That law became effective January 1, 2005, and was one of the strongest laws
in the country when it was passed. The MMCRSCA required retailers to place
adult-strength cold tablets with ephedrine or pseudoephedrine as their sole
active ingredient behind store counters or in locked cases.
During 2005, however, all of Illinois’ border states (Iowa,
Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, and Wisconsin) passed even tougher restrictions
on pseudoephedrine and ephedrine. The result of tougher restrictions in the
states surrounding Illinois was meth-makers coming to Illinois to purchase
pseudoephedrine and ephedrine. Law enforcement around the state reported numerous
incidents with out-of-state meth makers coming here to purchase pseudoephedrine.
Several out-of-state meth makers admitted to law enforcement that it was easier
to get pseudoephedrine in Illinois than in their home states so they made regular
trips to purchase the meth precursor.
In order to combat the wave of out-of-state meth makers coming
to Illinois, and to reduce the number of home-grown meth labs operating in
Illinois, Attorney General Madigan introduced the Methamphetamine Precursor
Control Act during the 2005 Veto Session of the General Assembly. The MPCA
was sponsored by State Representative John Bradley and State Senator William
Effective January 15, 2006, the MPCA makes pseudoephedrine and
ephedrine “schedule V controlled substances,” meaning they must
be kept behind pharmacy counters. It requires that all medications that contain
any amount of pseudoephedrine or ephedrine in any form be kept behind the pharmacy
counter. Customers who want to purchase these products do not need a prescription
but they do need to show a government-issued identification card, be at least
18 years of age, and sign a log. Customers purchasing medications containing
pseudoephedrine or ephedrine can purchase no more than two packages, or 3000
milligrams, at a time and no more than 7500 milligrams in a month.
There is an exception in the law for non-pharmacy retailers to
sell convenience packages. The MPCA defines a convenience package as containing
360 milligrams or less of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine in liquid or liquid-filled
capsule form. Customers may purchase no more than one convenience package per
day. The identification, age, and log requirements still apply.
In order to help retailers understand and comply with the law,
a series of eight retailer trainings have been scheduled around the state.
During the voluntary training, retailers have the opportunity to learn about
new restrictions on the way ephedrine and pseudoephedrine products are displayed
and sold, obtain materials that allow them to comply with the new law, and
ask questions about the purpose and details of the law.
“Illinois again has one of the toughest laws in the nation
when it comes to restricting access to ingredients used to make meth,” Madigan
said of the MPCA. “This law ensures that Illinois is keeping up with
the criminals who will go to any length to access the precursors they need
to make their drugs.”
Madigan’s bill garnered support from the Illinois State
Police, the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, the Illinois Association
of Chiefs of Police, the Illinois Drug Enforcement Officers’ Association,
the Illinois Metropolitan Enforcement Group Commanders and Drug Task Force
Directors, the Illinois State’s Attorneys’ Appellate Prosecutor’s
Office, the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association, the Illinois Academy
of Family Physicians, and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.
For additional information, please visit MethNet's Meth Laws
and Legislation section.