Schuette, Bouchard take stand against meth production

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette was joined Wednesday by Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, Eric Liu, director of Professional Affairs of the Michigan Pharmacists Association (MPA), and pharmacy owner Pierre Boutros at Mill’s Pharmacy & Apothecary in Birmingham to bring further awareness to Michigan’s new Anti-Smurfing Campaign. Part of Michigan’s fight against meth production is focused on increasing awareness among the public about the criminal enterprise known as “smurfing” – the act of buying cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine (PSE), such as Allegra-D and Advil Cold and Sinus, on behalf of criminals who intend to use these products for meth production.

Launched last month, the Anti-Smurfing Campaign is an educational effort that targets purchasers of cold and allergy medicine where it will have the most impact – right at the pharmacy counter. The public–private partnership is carried out by retailers, pharmacies and community organizations across the country on a voluntary basis. Those participating in the campaign will post targeted awareness and educational materials, including warnings signs and posters to raise awareness amongst consumers about seriousness of smurfing and the risks associated with the crime.

The materials have been heavily researched and tested with proven results to educate Michigan consumers on the issue of smurfing and what a serious crime it is to buy cold medicines for someone other than yourself.

“Awareness is critical in stopping the sometimes inadvertent crime of smurfing, one person alone cannot eliminate the methamphetamine problem in Michigan but by working together on multiple levels we can make a difference,” said Schuette. “Law enforcement, public officials and local business leaders have come together to engage the public and lead the awareness effort on what smurfing is and how dangerous it can be. Citizens who buy and use this medicine honestly, for the way it should be intended, should not be scared to continue doing so but the bottom line is –if you are buying PSE knowingly for a meth cook, you are committing a serious crime that has widespread impact in your community.”

“As a law enforcement leader, I see how the hard work of the men and women on the ground has made a difference in the battle against meth production,” said Bouchard. “While we often work with our partners in the retail and pharmacy community to ensure that PSE is not purchased by those who seek to produce meth, I believe that the Anti-Smurfing campaign will be another weapon in the arsenal in our collective effort against meth criminals. By educating consumers, we are putting steps in place to hopefully make sure no one will illegally buy PSE knowing that it is going to be turned into meth.”

“Our membership continues to work diligently on efforts to reduce meth production in Michigan,” said Eric Liu with MPA. “In the coming months, I am looking forward to further engagement with pharmacists across the state. We stand strongly with our allies in law enforcement to fight against meth production, and we believe that the Anti-Smurfing campaign is a great resource.”

“I am very happy to be a part of Michigan’s anti-smurfing campaign and welcome Attorney General Schuette, Sheriff Bouchard and all the other participants to our store,” said Mills Pharmacy owner Pierre Boutros. “As someone who is on the forefront of the fight against meth, we believe the signage will be a strong deterrent to anyone who may try to buy PSE to make meth. We look forward to engaging in this campaign and sharing the message of the dangerous and harmful results that could happen if you buy PSE for a meth maker.”

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