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A new study in Kentucky links sales of cold medicine products containing pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in methamphetamine, with meth lab busts. The study found each 13 grams of the decongestant sold per 100 residents was associated with one additional meth lab.

The researchers from the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy used data made possible by a state law that requires people who buy medications containing pseudoephedrine to enter their information into a database, according to the Los Angeles Times. They calculated how much of the drug was sold in each of the state’s counties, and compared that with the number of meth lab busts recorded in police logs.

These computer databases could be used to predict where meth lab busts are most likely to occur, the article notes. The researchers said their study shows the Kentucky law, which limits purchases to an amount equal to a full daily dose per person, is not adequate. They suggest people who buy products containing pseudoephedrine should have evidence of a “true medical need for its decongestant properties.”

The study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


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