Zoeller helps launch anti-smurfing public awareness campaign

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller helped unveil a statewide public awareness campaign today to send a warning to those who buy certain medicines for the purpose of making meth.

Zoeller joined representatives from the Indiana Retail Council, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office, Sen. Carlin Yoder (R-Middlebury) and other leaders to launch the initiative in Fort Wayne.

“Law enforcement, prosecutors and our Legislature have all worked hard to crackdown on the use and manufacturing of methamphetamine, and the fact is, more must be done” Zoeller said. “This public awareness campaign warns Hoosiers about that purchasing pseudoephedrine for the purposes of either making meth or selling it to a meth cook is a crime. This joint initiative shows that state leaders are willing to join forces with the manufacturers of over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines to remind all Hoosiers: if you’re purchasing these items for a meth cook, you are breaking the law and you will be arrested.”

The voluntary educational campaign aims to increase public awareness about the criminal enterprise known as “smurfing” — the practice of purchasing cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine (PSE) to sell to methamphetamine cooks.

The anti-smurfing campaign informs consumers through signage displayed at the point of sale that smurfing is a criminal offense and an integral part of the meth production process. As a result, the simple act of buying certain cold or allergy product for a stranger can fuel Indiana’s meth problem.

The public-private partnership was developed by CHPA, a national association representing the makers of over-the-counter medicines, and is carried out by Indiana retailers on a voluntary basis. CHPA tested anti-smurfing posters to ensure that they communicate impactful messaging without deterring legitimate consumers.

“In launching the Anti-Smurfing campaign, Indiana is joining a growing list of states who are dedicated to finding innovative solutions to address the illegal sale of pseudoephedrine,” said Scott Melville, president and chief executive officer of CHPA. “With the Anti-Smurfing Campaign, leaders on both sides of the aisle are putting aside their differences and taking meaningful action against smurfing. We commend Attorney General Zoeller, the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, and the Indiana Retail Council for taking the lead on this important campaign. We hope that more states will join this effort in the coming weeks.”

“Knowingly buying ingredients for a meth dealer or manufacturer to use in making this dangerous drug is a serious crime. As prosecutors we are doing everything that we can to stop the epidemic of meth across the State of Indiana and we appreciate the opportunity to work with Attorney General Zoeller on this important effort,” said Karen Richards, Allen County Prosecutor.

During the 2013 legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly passed Senate Enrolled Act 496 <http://www.in.gov/apps/lsa/session/billwatch/billinfo?year=2013&amp;session=1&amp;request=getBill&amp;doctype=SB&amp;docno=0496> to strengthen Indiana’s efforts against meth abuse. SEA 496, which Yoder authored, creates tighter restrictions on ephedrine/PSE, but it does not require law-abiding citizens to obtain a prescription in order to purchase the products.
“This legislation is a strong step in the fight to reduce meth-making and abuse in our communities,” Yoder said. “I believe we should give law enforcement and retail establishments, like CVS, the tools to combat the deadly meth epidemic without burdening innocent Hoosiers.”
The Indiana Retail Council have already begun distributing anti-smurfing signage to retailers across the state. For more information on the campaign, please visit Meth-KnowTheConsequences.Org.