By Jean Cole
An Athens man who allegedly purchased pseudophedrine has been charged with a misdemeanor, records show
James Devin Ray, 36, of 503 Schilling St., was arrested Wednesday by Limestone County Sheriff’s Department on a charge of unlawful purchase or attempt to purchase pseudophedrine, records show.
In Alabama, it is illegal to buy or attempt to buy pseudophedrine if you have a drug conviction. The first offense is a misdemeanor. Subsequent attempts are felonies.
Although pseudophedrine is a drug used to treat nasal, sinus or estuation tube congestion, it is also sometimes used in the manufacture of methamphetamine, a psycho stimulant that is sometimes abused for recreational purposes.
Ray was released from the Limestone County Jail after posting a $1,000 bail.
Changes in state law in 2012 and 2013 have made buying pseudophedrine or ephedrine more cumbersome. One law, passed in April 2012, expands the crime of possession of a controlled substance to include those, who by fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, obtain a precursor chemical, most notably ephedrine and pseudophedrine. Here is what the law does:
• Requires pseudophedrine or ephedrine to be sold only from a pharmacy licensed by the state.
• Requires packages of tablets contained ephedrine or pseudophedrine to be stored behind a counter inaccessible to the public to prevent theft.
• Lowers from 9 to 7.5 the number of grams a person may buy in a 30-day period.
• Requires better identification to buy the drugs, specifically a valid, unsuspended driver’s license or nondriver identification card, military ID or U.S. passport.
• Requires the purchaser to sign a record for each purchase.
• Allows the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center to create a drug-abuse information system that includes data regarding illegal drug manufacture, trafficking, distribution and use across the state.
In January this year, the ACJIC began a real-time electronic drug-offender tracking system to catalogue people who have been convicted of crimes involving the possession, distribution manufacture or trafficking of controlled substances.