Local pharmacists are selling a new form of pseudoephedrine to help fight against meth production in East Tennessee.
Eight stores started selling Nexafed, a drug its manufacturer claims cannot be broken down to be used to make methamphetamine.
"It was intriguing to know there was going to be a new formulation made," said Jeremy Long, a pharmacist at City Drug Co. in Maryville. "I am a lab-rat, I'm a nut. I'm one of the crazy people that enjoys the science behind stuff"
Long said he found a flyer on the new product, which claims the drug's ingredients will form a thick gel when someone tries to cook it, stopping the extraction of pseudoephedrine from the pill.
Only a few prescriptions of Nexafed have been sold at Long's pharmacy, but he said he is eager to 'Join the Fight', as the box label proclaims.
"Anything we can do to slow or prevent access to the simple ingredients that you know they're going to have to go for," said Long.
Local doctors at Blount Memorial Hospital in Maryville said the new form of pseudoephedrine might act as a deterrent for some people who were planning on making meth.
"I think it's a step in the right direction. It's always a good thing when people are looking at prevention," said Dr. Edward Harper.
Harper described meth as a drug that is not only nasty to make, but volatile to use.
"It's basically a toxic soup. It is just one step shy of putting your face in an industrial smoke stack and inhaling," described Harper. "Addiction is fairly rapid. It likes about everybody that likes it."
As with all addictions, Harper said people will find a way to make, sell, and use meth.
"In terms of production, like any other form of amphetamine, which has been through our history in the last 60 to 80 years, it's an international trade."
Pharmacists said they are optimistic Nexafed could curb local production. Better results could be seen, however, if more drug manufacturers used similar technology to make all pseudoephedrine products "meth-proof".
"It's going to be interesting to see the way they do these formulations that don't break down easily," said Long. "Nexafed is more expensive too, so that may be a barrier."
Nexafed is also sold at Infinity Pharmacy in Cookeville, Medicine Shoppe #1540 in Crossville, Belew Drug, Inc. in Knoxville, Maynardville Pharmacy Inc. in Maynardville, Town and Country Drugs in Newport, Marks Family Pharmacy in Oneida, and Value RX in Tazewell.