The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

September 3, 2013

Stem the tide

The Register-Herald

— Nexafed. Is it the next big thing?

Acura Pharmaceuticals is promoting the allergy medication as an alternative to pseudoephedrine products that are used to make illegal methamphetamine.

Nexafed contains pseudoephedrine, Acura says, but researchers have found a way to make it “nearly 100 percent” foolproof in its inability to help meth cooks with their brew.

Apparently, cooks dissolve Nexafed into a solution to extract the pseudoephedrine, all they get is a thick, taffy-like gel that cannot be filtered.

In the one-pot, shake-and-bake method, the same gelling effect occurs and the pseudoephedrine is trapped in it.

This is good news, but we hope the meth cookers won’t find a way to get around the gel. People who need a fix can go to crazy lengths to get one.

Currently, Acura is working with Fruth Pharmacies across the state to replace all other pseudoephedrine products with Nexafed. A search on the product’s website shows a few other pharmacies that carry the product, but none is close to Beckley.

Would it be beyond the realm of possibility to ask that Acura share its formula with other cold and allergy medication manufacturers?

Isn’t helping stem the tide of the scourge of meth more important than keeping all of the profits for oneself?

Many agree that making pseudoephedrine products available by prescription only isn’t the best solution. It hurts law-abiding, non-drug-addicted citizens. And, given the extreme number of people who become addicted to prescription painkillers, it’s not that much of a deterrent.

Information sharing. It’s something to think about.