Store managers follow law they say not needed
March 29, 2005
It can’t be said that Craig lags behind the nation in fighting a growing methamphetamine problem. In fact, a city ordinance passed in January beats both the state and federal governments in restricting the sale of products used to manufacture the popular drug.
In January, the City Council passed an ordinance that requires any business selling ephedrine-based products store those products in a secure location.
As of two weeks ago, all Craig businesses were in compliance, but not all were happy about it.
City Market Store Manager Kirk Mahaffie said complying with the ordinance was more difficult than they had imagined, something that contributed to the store missing the March 1 deadline.
“We weren’t prepared to have to move that many items,” he said.
Store managers thought about four products would need to be moved. Mahaffie said City Market had to take 36 products from the shelves. He originally wanted to make the products — Sudafed and Actifed — available at the service counter, but they wouldn’t fit.
They are available in the pharmacy.
Safeway used the same solution, and it has caused problems for that store, too. Store Manager Chuck Sadvar said sales are down as customers choose similar but less-effective products to treat their symptoms.
“We put signs up, but most people don’t want to wait for a pharmacist because that’s already a busy place,” Sadvar said.
Customers don’t always know what to ask for Mahaffie said, and now they have no way to compare ingredients or determine which product will best treat their symptoms.
Mahaffie and Sadvar said the ordinance was unnecessary. Both stores prohibited the sale of more than three ephedrine-containing products at one time and kept few on the shelves at one time.
“There really wasn’t a theft issue for us or Safeway,” Mahaffie said.
It was an issue for one store that was selling Sudafed by the case, C.OM.A. Chairman Kevin Langley said. C.OM.A. is a citizen task force working to eliminate methamphetamine use in Moffat County.
“You couldn’t single out a particular store in the ordinance,” he said. “Not all stores were being corporately responsible, though we do offer kudos to those who were and didn’t need the ordinance.”
Sadvar said he hasn’t had to re-order any of the products removed from the shelves, but he is willing to work with the community to combat a growing problem.
“(Drug users) make our lives more difficult every day, and if this makes it difficult for them, I’m all for it,” he said.
State legislation before the House Appropriations Committee keeps limits on the sale of what are considered “methamphetamine precursor drugs” — those containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and phenylpropanolamine to a specific number of packages.
The legislation would limit to two the number of packages a per-son could buy.
The number of states adopting such legislation has prompted the federal government to do the same.
The House is evaluating a bill that sets a limit nationwide on purchases of precursor drugs.
Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.