Missouri, the Meth Capital of the United States, this week launched a campaign against purchasing cold and allergy medicines and selling them to methamphetamine cooks.
It's the "anti-smurfing" initiative.
"Missouri law enforcement officials will tell you that smurfing is one of the biggest challenges they face in the battle against methamphetamine production and abuse," Attorney General Chris Koster says in a statement. "With the Anti-Smurfing Campaign, Missouri leaders are coming together with the manufactures of over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines to send an unmistakable message: if you're a buying this product for a meth cook, you are committing a serious criminal offense and could end up behind bars."
In a press release filled with smurf(-ing) quotes from officials across the state, the attorney general's office says that it will be putting up signs at retailers, which make clear that "smurfing is a serious criminal offense and an integral part of the methamphetamine production process."
Officials and industry professionals argue that smurfing -- which specifically refers to the sale of cold or allergy medicines with pseudoephedrine to meth cooks -- fuels the state's meth problem.
The attorney general, alongside pharmaceutical and retail leaders in the state, formally launched the public awareness campaign in a Kansas City news conference yesterday. The initiative is a public-private partnership developed by a national group called the Consumer Healthcare Products Association -- and Missouri retailers can participate on a voluntary basis. This association has tested its anti-smurfing posters to "ensure that they communicate impactful messaging without deterring legitimate consumers," the attorney general's office says.
In addition to retail and pharmaceutical reps, the Jackson County prosecutor's office is also a partner in the effort; these law enforcement officials argue that it's common practice for meth manufacturers to have others purchase pseudoephedrine for them.
The Missouri Pharmacy Association and the Missouri Retailers Association have already begun giving out anti-smurfing signs to interested business across the state.
Below are some examples of the campaign message, followed by Koster's full press release.
Continue for more materials from the campaign and the full announcement.
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