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Curbs on cold meds to fight street drugs

By Du Liya (Global Times)

08:34, August 02, 2012

East China's Zhejiang Province is planning a regulation that will require residents to show their ID card before buying cold medication, as part of an anti-drug campaign aiming to restrict the purchase of medicines containing ephedrine, a major ingredient in methamphetamine also known as the street drug "ice."

The province's police have already been supervising the purchase of medications containing ephedrine, Qianjiang Evening News reported.

There are more than 30,000 authorized chemical producers in Zhejiang, producing 16 million tons of precursor chemicals for pharmaceuticals.

The chemicals they produce are much sought after by illegal drug labs. The police said they busted seven wholesale companies for illegally buying large amounts of medication with ephedrine in 2011.

The National Drug Abuse Monitoring Annual Report 2011 released by the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) Wednesday said that abusers of methamphetamine narcotics outnumbered heroin addicts in 2011.

Since 2008, Zhejiang has restricted the sale of medication containing ephedrine by limiting purchases to five packs.

"The provincial five-package limit was initiated following the implementation of a national policy imposing retail sales limits by the SFDA in 2008," an official from the press office at the SFDA, who declined to be named, told the Global Times.

Chen Lianxi, vice dean of the narcotics control office of Zhejiang, said the province will step up control over ephedrine-content medication by requiring an ID card before any purchase, which will protect access to the medication for those who really need it.

Kong Fanpu, an official from the SFDA, told the Xinhua News Agency that patients may be further required to obtain a doctor's prescription before purchasing high-content ephedrine medicines.

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