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Comprehensive Methamphetamine Control Act of 1996

NCJ Number
T G Garner
Date Published
2 pages
After reviewing the characteristics and effects of methamphetamine, this article reviews the mandates of the U.S. Comprehensive Methamphetamine Control Act of 1996 (MCA) and describes Wal-Mart's program for reducing the availability of over-the-counter drugs used for the clandestine manufacture of methamphetamine in the United States.
Although methamphetamine abuse has been a problem for quite some time in the United States, its abuse is reaching new heights. This powerful stimulant has become the drug of choice for an increasing number of Americans. Increased controls were initiated in 1965, and many amphetamine-based products were removed from the market. To meet the black market demand for methamphetamine, clandestine laboratories evolved, supplemented by the smuggling of legitimately produced preparations from Mexico. Currently, the majority of the methamphetamine available on the illicit market is of clandestine manufacture. The most recent law, the MCA, extends the controls and regulations to cover the easiest to obtain starting materials. The MCA imposes controls on sales of pseudoephedrine and phenylpropanolamine products. In a press conference on April 9, 1997, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Wal-Mart announced a partnership designed to reduce the availability of over-the-counter drugs used for the clandestine manufacture of methamphetamine. After meeting with DEA representatives at a national meeting of Wal- Mart pharmacy managers, Wal-Mart management moved to restrict sales of those allergy/cold/diet preparations that have been diverted from legitimate use and seized in clandestine laboratories throughout California and Western, Southwestern, and Midwestern States. The cash registers in every Wal-Mart have been programmed to limit sales to three to six packages of these items per customer. In addition, Wal-Mart is discontinuing the 100- count bottle of their "Equate" brand 60 mg pseudoephedrine tablets that have been found at illicit laboratories, replacing it with smaller blister packs.