UK Study Shows Correlation with Pseudoephedrine Sales and Meth Production

Oct 19, 2012

A University of Kentucky research study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association this week shows a direct correlation between pseudoephedrine sales and methamphetamine production in Kentucky counties. Pdeudoephedrine, the main ingredient in Sudafed and similar decongestants, is the key feedstock for meth labs. The General Assembly further limited its sale this year.

“We find that counties where more pseudoephedrine is sold, more methamphetamine lab seizures are reported. Even though Kentucky requires pseudoephedrine sales to be tracked electronically, in real-time, the per-capita sales in some counties appear to be aberrant. Our results indicate a 565-fold variation in pseudoephedrine sales between counties. It is highly improbable that demand for pseudoephedrine in these counties is solely due to cough/cold/allergy,” explained Jeffrey Talbert, director of the College of  Pharmacy's Institute for Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy.

The other authors of the study are College of Pharmacy faculty members Karen Blumenschein and Trish Freeman, staff member Amy Burke, and Arnold Stromberg of UK’s Department of Statistics.