DEA: You Can Still Make Meth From New Cold Drug

But Zephrex-D maker claims the amount of meth extracted is negligible

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 11, 2013 12:03 PM CDT

(Newser) – The DEA is refusing to allow a new "meth-resistant" pseudoephedrine tablet to be sold over the counter, saying it can be used to make meth after all. The agency says government chemists were able to extract meth from Zephrex-D—now in 15,000 pharmacies across the US—so it must remain behind the counter, the AP reports. The company behind the drug, Westport Pharmaceuticals, counters that you can't extract any meth using the common "shake-and-bake" method, but acknowledges that a very small bit could be extracted with the aid of an old-school meth lab. But the quantity would be so small, a single dose would cost up $250 to $500—20 times the street value.

Westport has sold the drug in Missouri since December, and the Missouri Narcotics Officers Association say it hasn't found it in a single meth lab so far. "It's just not economically feasible for the meth-maker to use this product," says a local narcotics enforcement commander. But the DEA is sticking to its guns. "DEA commends the efforts of companies to develop products that deter the production of illicit drugs," it said in a statement. "While this particular company claims that their 'drug delivery system provides a new and unconventional approach to combat drug misuse,' this product can still be utilized to manufacture methamphetamine."

Medications containing pseudoephedrine go behind the counter.   (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
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