Sen. Beau McCoy
District 39

We must stop the “smurfing”

February 8th, 2011

Dear Neighbors,

Today I would like to highlight LB20 which I introduced on January 6, 2011. This bill implements an electronic tracking system known as the National Precursor Log Exchange, or NPLEx. It is designed to stop individuals who go from store to store, illegally stockpiling medications used to make methamphetamine. This practice is known as “smurfing”.

NPLEx is provided by the drug manufacturers Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) free of charge on a permanent basis to state governments that pass appropriate legislation.

NPLEx upgrades our current localized handwritten system which is federally mandated by the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2006. The retailer or pharmacist enters the customer’s ID information on a secure website and receives an immediate notification if they are attempting to purchase illegal amounts through a stop sale alert. This includes purchases from participating states.

It is not hard to see how a paper log, with all it’s good intentions, is not an effective tool to stop the criminals from smurfing. A paper log is not able to communicate with other stores in the same town, let alone across state lines.

NPLEx is currently used in 10 states, including Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. Iowa began in September, 2010 and had over 10,000 stopped sales in the first 3 months alone. This is 4% of the total sales attempts.

In Illinois, approximately 15,000 grams are blocked monthly. Louisiana, 8,000 grams a month. Kentucky, approximately 10,000 grams. This success affects surrounding states that have not enacted the electronic system.

Criminals from Kentucky were purchasing just over 4000 grams of meth precursors in bordering states when Kentucky began using the NPLEx system. In less than one year, criminals from Kentucky were purchasing almost 18,000 grams in bordering states.

This statistic should alarm every Nebraskan.

As terrible as this is, we must never forget the smallest victims; children.

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reports 2,023 children were residing in a home where a meth lab was seized in 2002; the latest figures we could find. 1,026 were taken into protective custody. 26 were injured and 2 children killed.

This is unacceptable.

As of today, LB20 must pass two more votes by the legislature. I will not allow Nebraska to be the meth haven of the midwest. I will continue my work to advance LB20 until it is sitting on the Governor’s desk for his signature.

If you would like more information on LB20 and the NPLEx system, or if I can be of assistance on any other issue, do not hesitate to contact me at my office at the State Capitol. My office number is 402-471-2885 or you can email me personally at bmccoy@leg.ne.gov.