Businesses in Crow Wing County have until the first of the year to put certain drugs or products related to methamphetamine manufacturing behind counters.
Meeting as the Board of Health Tuesday, commissioners approved an ordinance regulating over-the-counter sales of drugs or products containing a major active ingredient in making meth.
These meth precursor drugs, typically sinus medications, contain ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, phenylpropanolamine or similar products.
Businesses selling those products must be sure they are displayed and offered for sale behind a checkout counter, within a pharmacy or other controlled counter where the public is not permitted, the ordinance states.
Chairman Terry Sluss said Gov. Tim Pawlenty included this action in his state plan.
Crow Wing County's methamphetamine prevention hotline numbers are 822-METH and toll-free at (877)-822-METH.
"I think we can feel fairly good for having the governor's support for what we already proposed," Sluss said.
Commissioner Dewey Tautges said he shared a concern previously expressed by sheriff's department officials. They said they were concerned about a potential increase in armed robberies associated with the restricted access to these over-the-counter drugs.
Tautges said he believes if people have an addiction they are going to get the medications one way or the other. "It's the other that bothers me," he said.
Sluss agreed the potential for robbery was a concern. But he said pharmacies have other drugs of interest and robbery does not appear to be a great problem now.
Commissioner Ed Larsen said the slight risk of having the products behind counters is greatly outweighed by the positive effect the ordinance may have. Commissioner John Ferrari noted Crow Wing County has neighbors and borders. He said it would be nice if the state were to enact a statewide law.
RENEE RICHARDSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5852.
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