KINGSPORT, Tenn., Dec. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey, Representative Tony Shipley, R-Kingsport, representatives from Food City, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and other influential leaders announced the expansion of Tennessee's statewide Anti-Smurfing Campaign in Kingsport. The voluntary educational campaign aims to increase public awareness about the criminal enterprise known as "smurfing" — the practice of purchasing cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine (PSE) on behalf of methamphetamine criminals.
The Anti-Smurfing Campaign informs consumers through signage displayed at the point of sale that smurfing is a serious criminal offense and an integral part of the methamphetamine- production process. As a result, the simple act of buying certain cold or allergy products for a stranger can fuel Tennessee's methamphetamine problem.
"Smurfing remains one of the biggest challenges in the battle against methamphetamine production and abuse," said Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey. "This campaign is an important step towards addressing this critical problem. It's a voluntary public education program that will be carried out by pharmacies across Tennessee."
The public-private partnership was developed by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, a national association representing the makers of over-the-counter medicines, and is carried out by Tennessee pharmacies on a voluntary basis. Supporting the campaign are the Tennessee Pharmacists Association, Tennessee Retail Association, Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association, and Tennessee Rural Health Association. CHPA tested anti-smurfing posters to ensure that they communicate impactful messaging without deterring legitimate consumers.
"The Tennessee Pharmacists Association is a strong supporter of Tennessee's Anti-Smurfing campaign," said Baeteena Black, executive director of the Tennessee Pharmacists Association. "Our pharmacists are on the front lines of the battle against meth production every day, and we are glad that committed leaders from across the state are joining together to raise awareness about this critically important issue. This campaign is sending a clear message across Tennessee: if you're buying pseudoephedrine on behalf of a meth cook or dealer, you are committing a serious crime."
The Tennessee Pharmacists Association has already begun distributing Anti-smurfing Campaign signage to retailers across the state. For more information on the campaign, please visit Meth-KnowTheConsequences.Org.
SOURCE Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey