Last March, Sally Harpold bought a box of Zyrtec-D cold medicine for her husband, then a few days later bought a box of Mucinex-D cold medicine for her grown daughter. That put her over the limit for how much pseudoephedrine-laced cold meds you can buy in a week in her small Indiana town, so she was arrested along with 16 other potential meth makers earlier this month.
Her county has the unfortunate distinction of being the fifth-largest producer of meth in Indiana, despite being the 12-smallest county in the state, which may help explain the law enforcement overkill to some degree.
The Tribune-Star notes that pharmacies in the area post a “Meth Watch” sign “alerting customers that their purchases of drugs containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are being monitored,” but we’re not sure whether Harpold paid attention or knew about the 7-day limit.
Harpold said she did go talk to the prosecutor about the situation, and Alexander offered her the deferral program, in which Harpold is required to pay the court costs, abide by all laws and not be arrested for 30 days. At the end of 30 days, the class-C misdemeanor will be erased from her record.
We do think it would be nice if
pharmacies pharmacists made that explicitly clear upon purchase—”This medicine contains pseudoephedrine, and it uses 75% of your weekly allotment of the drug. If you buy anything else with pseudoephedrine in it within the next 7 days, make sure it doesn’t have more than n grams.” Yeah, that probably sounds like overkill, but with such a severe law on the books it might be wise to keep the public as informed as possible and actually teach them what to watch out for.
Of course, it’s also a perfect example of why you should take the time to read any “it’s the law!” warnings around your pharmacy, considering the weird locked-down state of many OTC drugs these days.
“Wabash Valley woman didn’t realize second cold medicine purchase violated drug laws” [TribStar] (Thanks to Warren!)