The state’s drug czar says it looks like a new system to track a key ingredient used to make methamphetamine is ready to meet the September 1st deadline for statewide use. Gary Kendall, the director of the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy, says the new system will allow pharmacies to track the sale of cold and flu medications containing pseudoephedrine.

“What it will do is stop people from going from pharmacy to pharmacy and buying their limit at each pharmacy that they go to, which has been happening over the past couple years since we passed the restrictions that put it behind the counter and placed a limit on how much they can buy,” Kendall says. Some pharmacies have already been using the new system in a pilot project.

Cheri Rockhold-Schmit works at an Ames pharmacy, and says the system has worked well. “It’s freed us up and given us more time to actually fill prescriptions and counsel patients and do the things we’re suppose to do because we’re not spending as much time on the phone calling other pharmacies trying to figure out if a purchase is legitimate or not,” Rockhold-Schmit says.

The legislature passed the bill two sessions ago to set up the electronic system after law officers said meth makers were getting around the purchase limits set on pseudoephedrine by going pharmacy to pharmacy in a practice known as “smurfing.”