I have long said that the way to curtail the methamphetamine epidemic is to attack the suppliers. It just makes common sense. Meth cookers can't be in business unless they have large quantities of ingredients that go into the making of the illegal drug. And they have to get those supplies from somewhere. So distributors and retailers who knowingly sell large quantities are just as guilty as the drug cookers themselves.
In Springfield on Thursday, federal officials got the message and arrested dozens of people for illegally selling massive quantities of over-the-counter drugs that are used to manufacture meth. We hope this signals a beginning of a trend.
The Springfield indictments were so blatant it boggles the mind. At the core of the problem is pseudoephedrine, a common ingredient in cold medicines that is the key ingredient in meth. A drug distributor and a retail organization conspired to hide the sale of these ingredients because it was obvious for which purpose they were being sold.
It's illegal in Missouri for retailers to sell more than two boxes of pills containing pseudoephedrine to one person. But the distributor and retailer were selling massive amounts and hiding those sales from state officials. The investigation was two years in the making but it should send a clear signal that law enforcement officials mean business.
Police first became suspicious when they found large quantities of cold pills during a series of meth raids. All of the pills had come from the same source. So police went undercover and were able to buy thousands of cold pills from the retailer. That resulted in the indictments handed down this week.
Missouri not only leads the nation in meth busts - we're far ahead of any other state. Given that climate, police must use any means possible to address this growing addiction. And going after the suppliers is the logical choice.
Retailers should not be held ultimately accountable for this drug explosion. But selling these amounts to meth cooks is not an innocent mistake. In the end, greed will catch up with those illegal retailers. We hope they pay a healthy price for