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Protect your community—Restrict the sale of combination pseudoephedrine products

July 28, 2009

The RCMP and Edmonton City Police have alerted ACP that large quantities of Claritin Allergy + Sinus (regular and extra strength) and Actifed (regular and "plus") have recently been purchased from Edmonton and Calgary pharmacies by individuals. The quantities sold are far greater than what could reasonably be for personal use, thus it is suspected that they are being used as precursors to produce illicit substances such as methamphetamine.

Recommendations

For the safety of our communities, review your pharmacy’s policies and procedures for the storage and sale of combination pseudoephedrine products. If not already in place, consider implementing the following strategies:

  1. Place all combination pseudoephedrine products (note that this may also include "store" brands) within the pharmacists’ view from the pharmacy and treat them as if they were Schedule 3 drugs.
  2. If you operate a lock and leave pharmacy, remove combination pseudoephedrine products from self-selection areas when your pharmacy is closed.
  3. Limit the package sizes and quantities of these products available for self selection.
  4. Educate all staff about the potential for abuse of these products. Tell them how to handle suspicious transactions (e.g., refer the customer to the pharmacist, do not antagonize the customer, always ensure their own safety).
  5. Introduce policies and procedures to limit the quantities that may be sold to any individual (e.g., "flags" within your point of sale system to alert cashiers when referral to a pharmacist is prudent).
  6. Report suspicious purchases to:

B.A. McIntosh (Cpl.)

Provincial Chemical Diversion Coordinator K Division Drug Enforcement

(780) 412-5542 - desk

(780) 412-5579 - fax

brad.mcintosh@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

  1. Become aware of trends within your community that may require elevated levels of diligence by you and your staff.

ACP Action

While the National Drug Scheduling Advisory Committee (NDSAC) and ACP recommended that combination pseudoephedrine products be placed in Schedule 3, our provincial government did not amend the provincial Scheduled Drugs Regulation accordingly. ACP brought these new trends to the attention of Alberta Health and Wellness, and encouraged amendments the Scheduled Drugs Regulation for combination pseudoephedrine products.

RESOURCES

AADAC, Beyond the ABCs – Amphetamines - http://www.aadac.com/87_419.asp

An overview of the chemistry, effects, and pharmacokinetics of amphetamines

Meth Watch program – www.methwatch.ca

Participating retailers strategically post Meth Watch signs on their store fronts. Using a specially developed web-learning portal, they train their employees to recognize suspicious transactions, without confronting or identifying the customer, and to contact law enforcement when these take place.

Originally published in the July 28, 2009, issue of The Link

Retailers participating in the Meth Watch program report safer stores, better customer relations, increased employee awareness, and improved communications with law enforcement. Many stores have experienced a decrease in loss from theft that is directly related to their participation in Meth Watch.


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