Iowa has received $2.8 million in federal funding to fight illegal drug use and support drug treatment programs. The federal grants target six programs in the state. Gary Kendell, Director of the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy, says $750,000 will be used to develop a Pseudoephedrine Verification Network.
The electronic database will connect Iowa pharmacies and help law enforcement identify individuals who are exceeding the limit placed on purchases of the drug used to make methamphetamine. “Without the federal money, we probably wouldn’t be able to make it a reality,” Kendell said.
“We were successful last session, on the state level, in getting the authorizing language but it didn’t provide any funding. So, we went to our congressional delegation and our senators and congressmen really came through for us.” Kendell believes the new electronic system will help reverse the resurging number of meth labs in the state.
“The majority of those labs that are occurring, they’re getting their pseudoephedrine through ‘smurfing’ – which is going from pharmacy to pharmacy and buying the limit of pseudoephedrine at each pharmacy,” Kendell said. “So, with implementation of a system like this, we’ll be able to have information on who’s exceeding their limit.” The new system is expected to be operational by July.