The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

October 17, 2013

Man charged over pseudophedrine buy

By Jean Cole
jean@athensnews-courier.com

— 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. 

The law

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.

Tracking

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.