/ 30 March 2008

Law to shut down backyard tik kitchens

Legislation is in the pipeline to have pseudoephedrine — a key ingredient in the manufacturing of the drug tik, or methamphetamine — reclassified, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Sunday.

This was revealed by Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang in a reply to a question put to her in Parliament by DA health spokesperson Mike Waters on March 27.

The Medicines Control Council (MCC) had recommended that pseudoephedrine, d-nor-pseudoephedrine and ephedrine be restricted. The drugs are currently available in cold and flu remedies.

The restriction of these drugs would make it more difficult for ”backyard” tik manufacturers to produce the drug, Waters said in a statement.

”Unlike drugs such as cocaine, heroin and Ecstasy, which are smuggled illegally into this country, tik can be produced right here in our own kitchens. Ingredients can be purchased from any of our local pharmacies because pseudoephedrine is an ingredient in many cold and flu remedies,” he said.

Medication containing pseudoephedrine would be reclassified as schedule-two medicines, which can still be sold without a prescription but are subject to tighter controls.

”The maximum pack size will be limited and the number of purchases per person will be restricted to one pack per customer,” said Waters.

Pseudoephedrine as a single product would be classified as a schedule-six medicine.

Waters said these measures would not stop the supply of tik, but would make it more difficult for small suppliers to operate. — Sapa