Illegal methamphetamine makers often turn to college students and others to buy pseudoephedrine for them to make drugs in their home labs. Carlos Gutierrez, vice president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, says it’s a practice that law enforcement calls “smurfing.”
“That’s basically the act of purchasing pseudoephedrine, knowing or unknowingly on behalf of another individual who makes methamphetamine out of it,” he says.
In Maine and many other states, smurfing is a crime, punishable by years in prison.
Gutierrez told members of the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee that most people are not aware of the consequences. He says the group is planning a PR campaign in Maine warning of the potential costs.
“We will do social media tool kits, we buy online advertisements and we will supplement the event with some paid media as well,” he says.