GENESEE COUNTY (WJRT) (8/13/2019) - "Smurfing is no joke. It's a serious crime," Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said.
Smurfing is buying psuedoephedrine for someone who's going to use the over the counter medication to make meth.
The nasal decongestant PSE is found in a number of cold and allergy pills.
"Allegra D, Claritin D, Zyrtec D, these medications are currently available without a prescription, just going to the pharmacy, such as in our location here," explained the Michigan Pharmacists Association CEO Larry Wagenkneckt.
He and Leyton came together Tuesday to warn the community the $20 you'll make off the purchase will result in a 5-year felony.
"In my office, in the last year, we have charged the 5-year felony 6 times," Leyton said.
They're catching violators through NPLEX, a system used in 35 states that logs how much pseudoephedrine a person is purchasing.
Wagenkneckt said in Michigan, you're allowed 9 grams, or about 120 pills, every 30 days. In the last year, he said, NPLEX blocked 46,000 sales in Michigan.
"With all of the push on cutting down access to opioids, now we're now seeing this greater, kind of rising interest in meth again," he explained.
Which is why Wagenkneckt said pharmacists are also trained to be vigilant, asking you what your purchase is for.
He explained this is a better option than making the medication a prescription drug.
"It would require the patient to schedule a doctor's office appointment, take time out of their work schedule to go to that, additional cost to the healthcare system that we really don't need," he said.