When meth cooks go to work, pharmacists are first to know

PHARMACISTS have found themselves on the frontline of the drug war.

If a fresh batch of methyl-amphetamines is about to be cooked up, they are often the first to know.

Some cold and flu tablets contain a small dose of pseudoephedrine - a key ingredient in "cooking" crystal meth or ice.

Buderim Chemmart pharmacist Tyson Baker said he had learnt to pick up on the signs of illegal activity.

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"You'll see every so many weeks an influx where people will request products that can be diverted into that product (ice)," he said.

"... there will be a string of people within a short period of the day trying to buy cold and flu tablets."

Ice cooks will move from chemist to chemist requesting batches of over-the-counter pseudoephedrine-based drugs.

As a result, chemists keep only one or two days' worth of the products.

Federal Member for Fisher, Mal Brough, recently addressed the issue with Coast police and was told they were making inroads into conquering the problem.

He said they decided it was best for him to keep his distance so he wouldn't overcomplicate the problem.

Detective Senior Sergeant Daren Edwards believes ice remains a pressing issue.

"Drugs like ice are addictive and often results in people losing self-control, especially when they combine it with alcohol," he said.

"Then there are the offenders who don't have money or jobs and have to resort to burglaries to obtain funds to support habits ...

"We can directly relate most of the property crime on the Sunshine Coast to drug use."

For information, advice and counselling on alcohol and drug issues, call 1800 177 833 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).



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