CapitolBeatOK Staff Report
Oklahoma City, OK – In mid-July, State Representative Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow, chairman of the state House Public Health Committee, released 2016 first quarter data from the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx).
NPLEx is the system that blocks illegal sale of pseudoephedrine (PSE) at the point of sale, in real-time, and across state lines. PSE is an active ingredient in popular cold and allergy medicine and is used by some criminals to make methamphetamine via dangerous home meth labs.
Oklahoma and 32 other states have adopted NPLEx as a way to ensure that law-abiding citizens have access to the medicines they rely on, while automatically stopping unlawful PSE purchase attempts. This law enforcement tool also provides police with information to detect suspicious purchase patterns and identify, prosecute and convict suspected meth makers.
In the first six months of 2016, the NPLEx system in Oklahoma helped block the sale of 21,784 boxes of PSE, keeping 55,184 grams of PSE from potentially being used illegally. In Oklahoma, NPLEx goes one step further. The system is paired with a meth offender block list that bans convicted meth offenders from purchasing medicine containing PSE.
“Today, due in large part to the work of law enforcement at all levels, our state is on a four year downward trend that has reduced meth labs 88 percent since 2011,” said Rep. Ritze, who is a doctor. “According to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, meth lab seizures in the first three months of 2016 were down 70 percent alone, compared to the first three months of 2015. Our state has come a long way since 2011 and we continue to see sharp declines year after year, while keeping cold and allergy medicine accessible to our honest and hardworking citizens.”