Bryan Cohen Apr. 19, 2013, 5:45pm

ST. LOUIS (Legal Newsline) - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced the expansion on Thursday of Missouri's statewide Anti-Smurfing Campaign to increase public awareness about the practice of buying cold and allergy medicines to sell to methamphetamine cooks.

The voluntary educational campaign informs consumers through signage displayed at the point of sale that smurfing to provide pseudoephedrine medications to methamphetamine cooks is a serious criminal offense and a significant part of the methamphetamine production process. Koster made the announcement on Thursday at the St. Louis-based Ladue Pharmacy.

"Missouri law enforcement officials will tell you that smurfing is one of the biggest challenges they face in the battle against methamphetamine production and abuse," Koster said. "In expanding the Anti-Smurfing Campaign, Missouri leaders are again joining forces with the manufactures of over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines to remind all Missourians: if you're buying this product for a meth cook, you are committing a serious criminal offense and could end up behind bars."

Koster joined with representatives from the Missouri Retailers Association, the Missouri Pharmacy Association, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson in making the announcement.

"Public education is an essential step in the fight against meth cooks and dealers," Koster said. "The Anti-Smurfing Campaign represents an important part of that effort. I am confident it will make potential criminals think twice before making any unlawful pseudoephedrine purchase."

The CHPA developed the public-private partnership after testing anti-smurfing posters to make sure they convey an impactful message about the consequences of illegally buying medicine for someone else. The Missouri Retailers Association and the Missouri Pharmacy Association have already started distributing the signage to retailers throughout Missouri.

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