This is dedicated to Travis Holappa who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered on July 25, 2004 in Northern Minnesota. This was all due to meth. I am Travis' mother and I wish to make this devastation turn into a better thing by educating and exposing the truth about meth, the dangers, and the deadly consequences it brings about to individuals and communities.

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Location: Colorado, United States

I want to do what I can to educate people about what is going on around the world with the meth problem. I want people to know about it BEFORE they even get the idea to want to try it. It is a dangerous drug and will ruin your life as well as all those who love you. I am on a mission on behalf of my only son, Travis.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Over-the-counter intelligence (Massachusetts)

By Jon Brodkin/ Daily News Staff

The terrorism-fighting tool known as the USA Patriot Act is taking aim at a new target: over-the-counter cold medications that illegal drug producers use to make methamphetamine.

Signed into law by President Bush two months ago, a reauthorization of the Patriot Act forces retailers to move cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine behind the counter or into a locked cabinet. It also requires customers to show photo identification when buying the medicine and limits the amount that may be purchased.

The law does not take full effect until Sept. 30 but many pharmacies and retailers already have taken Sudafed and similar products off the shelves to comply.

"It’s very burdensome, but I agree with it," said Thomas Bouvier, a pharmacist at Bouvier Pharmacy in Marlborough. "If they’re abusing (the medication), something’s got to be done."

Pseudoephedrine is a key ingredient in meth, often made in small home-based labs, as well as in extensive chemistry laboratories used by more sophisticated illegal drug makers.

Bill Horne, a Framingham substance abuse counselor who last year treated a man who operated a meth lab, supports the new restrictions.

"Anything that will inhibit someone from having the ability to harm themselves with the use of drugs, I’m in favor of," said Horne, executive director of Genesis Counseling Services.

The first part of the law went into effect April 8, limiting pseudoephedrine sales to 3.6 grams per day, or 9 grams per month. For a 72-tablet package of Sudafed, that works out to five boxes per day or 12 a month.

The Drug Enforcement Administration fought for the new restrictions, while officials within the Food and Drug Administration reportedly lobbied against the new law behind the scenes because it restricts access to cold medicines.

Milford Police Chief Thomas O’Loughlin said he has read about several meth laboratories in Massachusetts, but his officers have not encountered anyone cooking meth locally.

During a recent trip to CVS in Holliston, O’Loughlin said he had to show more identification to get cold medicine than he did to buy prescription drugs. But he didn’t mind.

"Building a laboratory in a home in a residential neighborhood presents all kinds of dangers," he said. "It’s a minor inconvenience (to show ID at a drugstore)."

Explosions are one of the dangers associated with meth labs.

By Sept. 30, all pseudoephedrine-containing products must be in a locked cabinet or behind a counter, and customers will have to show identification and sign their names and addresses into a logbook.

Many pharmacies already have set up a logbook and moved the medicines behind the counter, partly to make sure customers don’t surpass the limits in effect since April 8, said Carmelo Cinqueonce, executive vice president of the Massachusetts Pharmacists Association.

"Some of the major chains have begun to place these products behind the counter in an effort to monitor the sales limits and prepare for the Sept. 30 regulations," Cinqueonce said.

CVS moved all products containing pseudoephedrine as the sole active ingredient behind counters last July, because 38 states already had laws restricting sales of the drug, said CVS spokesman Mike DeAngelis.

None of those states are in New England, he said. Since April 8, CVS has moved all products with pseudoephedrine behind the counter nationwide, he said.

"We want to be in full compliance so that we’re ready for it when it goes into effect," he said.

Bouvier in Marlborough said he has begun removing pseudoephedrine products from shelves, but hasn’t finished the process. Wayland Apothecary is not requiring identification yet but has moved the drugs behind the counter, said pharmacist David Beck.

West Concord Pharmacy is waiting for official notification from the government before it follows suit, said pharmacist Diane Briner.

"We haven’t even officially gotten any notice, not from the federal government and not from the state," she said. "If someone came in to buy a huge quantity, I wouldn’t let them anyway."

Jon Brodkin can be reached at 508-626-4424 or


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