by Sam Levin
St. Louis police want to make it a little bit harder for cooks to make meth -- by scaring those who illegally secure ingredients for the drug.
The state attorney general's office partnered with the metro police department in announcement yesterday that a so-called "Anti-Smurfing Campaign" is coming to the city of St. Louis. It's not about the little blue creatures, but rather curbing the practice of purchasing cold and allergy medicines that contain pseudoephedrine and then selling them to meth cooks, also known as "smurfing."
Officials launched the statewide effort last month, and now St. Louis residents can expect to see signs in pharmacies with warnings like "Meth Makes Children Orphans." More examples below.
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The campaign is a public-private partnership between law enforcement and the Missouri Pharmacy Association, the Missouri Retailers Association and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association -- and it's carried out by retailers on a voluntary basis.
The attorney general's office says that the CHPA tested the anti-smurfing posters to ensure that they effectively discourage people from illegally purchasing medicines for meth cooks.
"Those of us involved with law enforcement in St. Louis have seen the effects of meth use first hand. We are familiar with the terrible consequences associated with smurfing," St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson says in a statement. "The public needs to be aware of the seriousness of this activity."
Attorney General Chris Koster was in the city yesterday to unveil the St. Louis extension of his campaign.
"In expanding the anti-smurfing campaign to the St. Louis area, leaders with diverse political viewpoints are putting aside their differences and taking meaningful action against smurfing," he says in a statement.
Here are some examples of some of the signs you might see around St. Louis followed by the full announcement from the attorney general's office.
Continue for more materials from the campaign and the full announcement.
Attorney General Koster joins retailers, pharmacists to expand anti-smurfing public awareness campaign
St. Louis, MO - Attorney General Chris Koster joined St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson and representatives from the Missouri Pharmacy Association, the Missouri Retailers Association, and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) to announce the expansion of Missouri's statewide Anti-Smurfing Campaign at Ladue Pharmacy in St. Louis. The voluntary educational campaign is aimed at increasing 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 leaders formally launched the campaign last month during a news conference at Marsh's Sun Fresh in Kansas City.
The Anti-Smurfing Campaign informs consumers through signage displayed at the point of sale that smurfing is a serious criminal offense and an integral part of the methamphetamine production process.
"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," said Attorney General Koster. "In expanding the Anti-Smurfing Campaign, Missouri leaders are again joining forces with the manufactures of over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines to remind all Missourians: if you're buying this product for a meth cook, you are committing a serious criminal offense and could end up behind bars."
"Public education is an essential step in the fight against meth cooks and dealers," Koster said. "The Anti-Smurfing Campaign represents an important part of that effort. I am confident it will make potential criminals think twice before making any unlawful pseudoephedrine purchase."
The public-private partnership was developed by the CHPA, a national association representing the makers of over-the-counter medicines, and is carried out by Missouri retailers on a voluntary basis. CHPA tested anti-smurfing posters to ensure that they communicate impactful messaging of the consequences of illegally buying medicines for someone else.
"Missouri continues to break ground in their efforts to eradicate surfing," said Scott Melville, president and chief executive officer of CHPA. "Last month, we saw elected officials, law enforcement officers and retailers came together to launch this important program in Kansas City. In expanding the Anti-Smurfing Campaign to the St. Louis area, leaders with diverse political viewpoints are putting aside their differences and taking meaningful action against smurfing. We commend Attorney General Koster, the Missouri Pharmacy Association and the Missouri Retailers Association for taking the lead on this important campaign."
"Those of us involved with law enforcement in St. Louis have seen the effects of meth use first hand. We are familiar with the terrible consequences associated with smurfing," said St Louis City Police Department Chief Sam Dotson "The public needs to be aware of the seriousness of this activity. I applaud Attorney General Koster for leading this public-awareness campaign, which I'm sure will have a major impact."
"On behalf of the members of the Missouri Pharmacy Association, we are excited to join Attorney General Koster, CHPA and the Missouri Retailers Association once again to expand the Anti-Smurfing Campaign," said Ron Fitzwater, chief executive officer of the Missouri Pharmacy Association. "Our pharmacists are on the front lines in the battle against meth production. We will continue to do everything we can to make sure pseudoephedrine-based products are purchased by honest consumers who need them for relief, not criminals."
"The Missouri Retailers Association ardently supports this important initiative," said David Overfelt, president of the Missouri Retailers Association. "This public awareness campaign forces people to think seriously about the moral and criminal consequences associated with smurfing. If we are to make real progress against meth criminals, we must come together to support constructive solutions such as the Anti-Smurfing Campaign. I am happy to be joining the Attorney General and other leaders of Missouri to expand this initiative."
The Missouri Pharmacy Association and the Missouri Retailers Association have already begun distributing Anti-Smurfing signage to retailers across the state. For more information on the campaign, please visit Meth-KnowTheConsequences.org.