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[ATG] AG Zoeller, local officials target meth & prescription drug abuse
Start Date: 10/10/2013Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 10/11/2013End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description

GARY, Ind. – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller helped unveil a statewide public awareness campaign today in Gary to send a warning to those who buy certain medicines for the purpose of making meth.

Zoeller was joined by Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, Gary Chief of Police Wade Ingram, Lake County Prosecutor Bernie Carter, and representatives from the Indiana Retail Council and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA).

“Law enforcement, prosecutors and our Legislature have all worked hard to crack down on the use and manufacturing of methamphetamine, and the fact is, more must be done,” Zoeller said.  “This public awareness campaign warns Hoosiers about that purchasing pseudoephedrine for the purposes of either making meth or selling it to a meth cook is a crime. This joint initiative shows that state leaders are willing to join forces with the manufacturers of over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines to remind all Hoosiers:  If you’re purchasing these items for a meth cook, you are breaking the law and you will be arrested.”

The voluntary educational campaign aims to increase public awareness about the criminal enterprise known as “smurfing” — the practice of purchasing cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine (PSE) to sell to methamphetamine cooks.  The anti-smurfing campaign informs consumers through signage displayed at the point of sale that smurfing is a criminal offense and an integral part of the meth production process.  As a result, the simple act of buying certain cold or allergy product for a stranger can fuel Indiana’s meth problem.

The public-private partnership was developed by CHPA, a national association representing the makers of over-the-counter medicines, and is carried out by Indiana retailers on a voluntary basis.

“In launching the Anti-Smurfing campaign, Indiana is joining a growing list of states who are dedicated to finding innovative solutions to address the illegal sale of pseudoephedrine,” said Scott Melville, president and chief executive officer of CHPA.  “With the Anti-Smurfing Campaign, leaders on both sides of the aisle are putting aside their differences and taking meaningful action against smurfing.  We commend Attorney General Zoeller, the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, and the Indiana Retail Council for taking the lead on this important campaign. We hope that more states will join this effort in the coming weeks.” 

Zoeller also highlighted a new public awareness campaign on prescription drug abuse.  Statewide radio, TV, online, print and outdoor advertisements now feature information about www.BitterPill.IN.gov. Zoeller and the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force launched the website to serve as a one-stop-shop for information about prescription drug abuse and misuse.

In one TV ad titled “Cautious Mom,” a mother says she talked with her teenage son about illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin and meth, but her son is seen taking prescriptions bottles from the medicine cabinet just behind her. Zoeller said that parents should include warnings about prescription medications in their talks with their children about the dangers of drugs.

Last year, more than 1 in 5 Indiana students surveyed reported using prescription drugs without a prescription, according to the Indiana Youth Survey 2012. Children who learn a lot about the risks of drugs and alcohol from their parents are up to 50 percent less likely to use than those who do not, according to the Partnership at DrugFree.org.

“This new website is an important resource for Hoosiers as it could help someone find local treatment options or even help a parent open the discussion about prescription drug abuse with their children,” Zoeller said.  “Our ad campaign targets all ages, because abuse and misuse is a top to bottom problem in our state. It is my hope that our messages will hit home with consumers and help us fight back against Indiana’s prescription drug abuse epidemic.”

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