The war on drugs has shifted in past decades from aggressive prosecution of marijuana crimes to an increasing focus on other drugs, including methamphetamine, also known simply as “meth.”
Law enforcement officials and safety advocates say meth is one of the most dangerous drugs on the street—and the investigation and prosecution of meth-related drugs is on the rise.
According to reports, Alabama anti-meth legislation has created some of the toughest laws against offenders. A 2012 law created comprehensive legislation to investigate, charge and penalize offenders. The statewide law created a “drug offender database” to crackdown on production, distribution, and possession.
With more investments in the investigation and prosecution of meth-crimes, more individuals will be targets of law enforcement. The arrest and conviction of a meth-related crime could carry severe and lasting penalties, including fines, jail time and a criminal record. The anti-meth legislation in Montgomery is considered the toughest law of any kind in the U.S. In addition to prosecuting drug crimes, it also limits the amount of pseudoephedrine-based medication an individual can buy in a year. Pseudoephedrine or PSE is the active ingredient found in common cold and allergy medications, but is also one of the ingredients used to make meth.
Unfortunately, individual citizens who can benefit from the PSE-medications to treat cold and allergies may be limited as a result of the new meth-laws. Those who rely on PSE-medications could also be targets of investigations should they be suspected of using legally purchased over-the counter drugs to make meth.
Legislators who backed the anti-meth law maintain it keeps PSE medications away from meth producers while ensuring ordinary citizens still have access. The law intentionally kept the drugs available over-the-counter, without a prescription, while placing caps on the number of PSE-drugs an individual could purchase in a year.
Alabama’s anti-meth bill also integrates Alabama into the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEX), tapping into an interstate network that automatically tracks PSE purchases. Individuals who attempt to purchase more than the legal amount are blocked. In Alabama, those who seek to purchase these legal over-the-counter drugs can be turned over to the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center. The system prevented the sale of over 45,000 boxes of PSE, allegedly thwarting the production of over 110,000 grams of potential meth.
While Alabama lawmakers may have good intentions in seeking to prevent the production and distribution of meth throughout the state, individual citizens could be at risk. The system targets those who are purchasing PSE, over-the-counter cold and allergy medication buyers and could leave innocent users facing criminal charges.
Our Birmingham meth crime defense attorneys understand the complications of drug crimes investigations. We will review the facts of your case, identify any violations by law enforcement and work to minimize charges and penalties on your case. If you are suspected of meth production or purchasing PSEs for illegal use, it is critical to involve an experienced advocate to protect your rights during the investigation, thorough interrogations and at trial.