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Normally I am not afraid of "Big Brother" if you know what I mean. I do not care about the Red-light cameras nor do I think they are recording our every move. I do not think cameras in public areas run by the government are a bad thing. So, normally I do not worry about big brother and all of that other BS stuff about the government spying on us. But that all might have to change with this news story from the Albuquerque Journal.



Program to Track Drug Sales

By T.J. Wilham
Journal Staff Writer
    If you buy too much Sudafed at too many different drugstores, you could get a knock at your door.
    Within the next few weeks, the Albuquerque Police Department will launch a new computer program that tells it who is buying over-the-counter drugs used to manufacture methamphetamine, and where they buy it.
    If someone buys enough of a certain drug, the program will alert the police. From there, detectives will start an investigation into his or her activities.
    Depending on the quantities purchased, detectives might simply approach the person or go as far as starting a surveillance operation.
    "Hopefully this will bring together the individuals that are running under our radar," said Albuquerque Police Lt. Chris Bakas, who commands one of the department's narcotics units. "Until now, we have not had an instrument to identify them."
    Under a city ordinance that was passed in 2005, all pharmacies have to keep track of who buys over-the-counter drugs that contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, common ingredients in many decongestants.
    But APD didn't have an easy way to keep track of the data and analyze it. Detectives had to go through the logs by hand and see if they recognized any of the names.
    Once the new program goes online, most pharmacies will send the data electronically to APD. The program will then keep track of each person's purchases of the over-the-counter drugs used to make meth, even if they buy the drug at different pharmacies. Other retailers, such as grocery stores, will also be sending the data.
    The 2005 ordinance also limited pharmacies to selling 3.6 grams of the over-the-counter drugs at one time and 9 grams over a 30-day period. To get around the law, dealers would go to different stores to obtain their supplies.
    With the computer system, it will be much easier for APD to keep track of who is getting around the law.
    "This will certainly help detour that," said City Councilor Martin Heinrich, who sponsored the 2005 legislation. "This is using technology in a very smart way."
    The computer software was written by a former Tennessee lawman and donated to APD. The city, however, has to pay about $1,000 for all of the computer equipment needed to run it, using U.S. Justice Department grant money.



Now do not get me wrong, I really do understand the need for a program like this, cus God only knows how much meth is made in this city. I also understand, at least in theory, that the normal law-obeying person has nothing to fear from this. But what is left out of the story: How much meth is going to get you your very own police surveillance detail?

So, I am sure that I do not come close to buying enough cold drugs to even hit anywhere near the radar. Heck, I do not even remember the last time I bought anything with like Sudafed or anything that has ephedrine or pseudoephedrine in it. But if I had a large family (and I did all the buying) or if I was prone to colds or really bad allergies, I might find my self buying more then the normal amount of Sudafed type drugs, enough so that I might find my self with a APD surveillance detail on my ass.

I also wonder if ordinances, like the one the city passed in 2005 really do work. I mean, I could see if these were state wide rules / laws, but being that it is just one municipality, means I could go to Rio Rancho, Bernalillo, Las Lunas, or Belen (or anywhere else in the state for that matter) and buy ephedrine like it was going out of style. I also wonder if laws like these really do work, or just force the meth makes to find "alternative" ways of getting there hands on ephedrine, like robbing a pharmacy.

If there is a major downturn in meth production and meth houses, then I might just have to start singing the praises of this. But until I see figures indicating otherwise, I am going to remain a septic of this program.

Comments

( 1 Person Thought — Tell Me What You Think )
haguelovesyou
Nov. 7th, 2007 01:01 am (UTC)
Computer tracking is by the local police is kind of redundant, since this stuff is tracked due to federal law anyway. I think store clerks, if they see people buying it often, can tell (for the most part) what their purpose is.
( 1 Person Thought — Tell Me What You Think )

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