SPRINGFIELD, IL -- A measure passed by Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) that makes permanent a sales tracking program used by law enforcement to combat meth production has been signed into law by Governor Pat Quinn.

"We took quick action to ensure that law enforcement continues to have access to this vital tool," Haine stated. "By signing this bill into law, Illinois will continue a program that has saved countless lives from the devastation of this destructive drug."

Senate Bill 73, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Costello II (D-Smithton) and Rep. Dan Beiser (D-Alton) in the House, creates the Methamphetamine Precursor Tracking Act and makes permanent a pilot tracking program set to expire this month. The program grants pharmacies the authority to block excessive and illegal sales of pseudoephedrine-based cold medication, a key ingredient in the production of methamphetamine. Since the program's inception in June 2010, sales of over 70,000 boxes of pseudoephedrine-containing medication have been blocked statewide, including over 3,000 boxes in the Metro East area.

"We carefully designed this law to make certain that cold sufferers can get the medication they need to relieve their symptoms while putting key barriers in place to keep the medication out of the hands of drug dealers," Haine said.

The law builds upon the Methamphetamine Precursor Control Act of 2006. Haine worked with the Attorney General, the Illinois State Police, and a bipartisan coalition of legislators in crafting a measure to rein in the meth problem. The Act limited the amount of pseudoephedrine-based
medication that can be purchased, required pharmacies to move the medication behind the counter and track sales, and established photo ID requirements. Following the passage of the Act, reported meth labs declined by over 50 percent, from 761 in 2006 to 362 in 2007.

"Illinois has made tremendous strides in bringing this problem under control," Haine said. "I will continue to work with law enforcement to ensure that they have the resources they need to protect our communities from this devastating drug and put these offenders behind bars."

Senate Bill 73 is effective immediately.

Photo caption: Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) speaks in support of the Methamphetamine Precursor Tracking Act (Senate Bill 73) at a press conference with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Rep. Jerry Costello II (D-Smithton), and local law enforcement officials.

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