Consumer Healthcare Products Association Launches National Initiative Against Meth

CHPA's Meth Watch gives states tools to help stop diversion of cold medicines and other commonly sold products to meth production

Washington, D.C. (June 15, 2004)—The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) launched the national Meth Watch program today at the National Press Club. Meth Watch enables retailers and law enforcement to work together to deter the theft or suspicious sale of certain household products—most notably over-the-counter (OTC) medicines containing pseudoephedrine and ephedrine—commonly being used to manufacture the illegal street drug, methamphetamine. The program provides retailers with training and information for employees and managers to help ensure these products are not diverted to illegal meth production. CHPA was joined at the press conference by Representatives Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) and Chris Cannon (R-Utah), and Craig L. Fuller, president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS).

“Meth is devastating communities across the country,” said CHPA President Linda A. Suydam, D.P.A. Formerly a problem only in rural areas in just a few states, meth has made its way across the nation. Particularly alarming to law enforcement and destructive to localities is the increase in the number of small toxic labs that use common household products to manufacture the drug. Continued Suydam: “We believe the OTC and retail industries, alongside government and law enforcement agencies, can help communities come together to combat meth production through Meth Watch.”

Representative Larsen, co-chair of the Congressional Caucus to Fight and Control Methamphetamine, concurred: “This is a problem that cannot be solved by the government alone. It will take the combined effort of law enforcement, retailers, industry, and others to bring an end to the meth epidemic. A program like Meth Watch creates just that sort of partnership. Counties in Washington State have begun to implement Meth Watch programs, and I urge other states and counties to take part in the Meth Watch program.”

Representative Cannon, a fellow co-chair of the congressional meth caucus, voiced his support of Meth Watch: “Methamphetamine is one of our nation’s fastest growing drug threats. Unfortunately, Utah is not immune to this menace. In fact, Utah is ranked among the top 10 states for meth labs and has ranked number one for speed cookeries per capita. Utah’s participation in CHPA’s Meth Watch Program is an opportunity to demonstrate that local involvement and commitment is the difference between prevention and abuse. I am a strong supporter of Meth Watch and I am glad to see that Utah has decided to participate in this program.”

A vital component of the Meth Watch program is the retail community. NACDS, which represents chain pharmacies nationwide, is a partner in the Meth Watch program and has provided funding to implement it. “NACDS members are in a unique position to help law enforcement on this issue,” said NACDS’ Fuller. “NACDS and our members are committed to helping their communities in the fight against meth by participating in Meth Watch.”

Designed to help curtail the suspicious sale and theft of nonprescription pseudoephedrine- and ephedrine-containing medications, as well as the other products used by small toxic labs to make meth, the Meth Watch program first began in Kansas as a cooperative effort between the law enforcement, retailers, government, and the drug prevention community. As news of its success spread, several states began looking for ways to implement the innovative model, but were deterred by limited resources and lack of expertise. “Kansas was especially hard-hit by meth,” said Cristi Cain, project coordinator for the Kansas Methamphetamine Prevention Project. “As we achieved success with our statewide Meth Watch effort and more states came to us for assistance in developing their own programs, the necessity of a national, centralized initiative became apparent. We applaud CHPA members and their partners in retail for filling this urgent need.”

Over the past several months, CHPA has been working in partnership with Kansas to design a uniform Meth Watch program for those states interested in participating.

CHPA’s Meth Watch program is available to any interested state. To date, 12 have registered for the Meth Watch implementation training, scheduled for July 8-9 in Washington, D.C. At the training, participants will be briefed on the diversion of household products to meth production and will be provided with information on best practices for implementing a local program. In addition, participants will receive copies of all the Meth Watch materials, including the retailer brochure, decals and shelf tags, a training video, and consumer tip sheets. The clearinghouse for all materials is www.MethWatch.com.

EDITOR’S NOTES: Background materials about the Meth Watch program, in addition to today's press kit, are available on www.MethWatch.com.

Contact: Elizabeth Assey and Virginia Cox, 202.429.9260


CHPA is the 123-year-old trade association representing U.S. manufacturers and distributors of over-the-counter medicines and nutritional supplement products.