Campaign To Target "Smurfers"

Nov 19, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Customers waiting in the pharmacy lines across the state will soon see a new warning posted on the walls.

One poster shows a man buying pseudoephedrine and below that a pair of hands in cuffs. The picture is one Governor Beshear hopes will send a clear message.

"We're going to educate people about what will happen to them if they are in a drug store buying pseudoephedrine in order to go resell it to a meth cook and somebody for a profit," he says.

The practice, that of using third parties to buy the key meth ingredient, is known as smurfing, and despite the harmless-sounding name, it’s becoming a serious problem in Kentucky as criminals seek out new ways to circumvent the state’s real time, stop-sale system. Smurfing, a felony, can result in prison time.

The education campaign brought together Republican State Senator Robert Stivers and a representative from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, a group that campaigned against Stivers’ bills requiring prescriptions for drugs containing pseudoephedrine. On the matter of educating the public on the dangers of smurfing, however, the two were in agreement.