IOWA CITY, Iowa – A new electronic tracking system may help law enforcement crack down on manufacturers of methamphetamine.
"Definitely going to slow them down a lot," said Detective Shane Chandler, a member of the Johnson County drug task force.
The new system requires customers give pharmacists a photo identification card which is currently used to enter in the name, address, date of birth, and list of products that are being purchased.
"It adds one more layer to our way of identifying someone that may be a little bit over anxious in purchasing pseudophed," said Dave Henning, pharmacy manager at the Waterfront Hyvee in Iowa City.
The information is instantly loaded into a national database.
Pharmacies throughout the state have access to the new system which tells employees when they cannot sell pseudoephedrine to a customer.
"System sends you a red flag identifying that they are over the limit and the sale is halted at that time," Henning said.
The legal limit of pseudoephedrine is 3600 milligrams in a 24 hour period or 7500 milligrams in a 30 day period.
So, in theory, gone are the days that one could pharmacy-hop to purchase large amounts of the drug.
"I think what it will do is stop them from violating the law," Detective Chandler said. "By no means do I think it will stop them from purchasing pseudophed."
Detective Chandler will now be able to access electronic reports of who purchased the drug at what location and when which he believes will expedite investigations.
Checking out at pharmacies will also get faster as new barcode scanners will soon be installed to automatically enter information from a photo identification card to the database.
Detective Chandler anticipates it could take up to a year to determine the new system's success, but he is optimistic it will help.
"The greatest success is stopping people from manufacturing meth," he said.