In the past few weeks, we’ve seen multiple meth lab seizures by Maine law enforcement in the news, highlighted by the recent bust in Ellsworth. While meth abuse continues to be a problem, it’s important to recognize the efforts underway in Maine to combat the drug’s prevalence and production. This year’s anti-smurfing initiative, which you may be familiar with if you’ve seen our posters in your local pharmacy, is a perfect example.

“Smurfing” may sound like a funny term, but it’s a very serious criminal activity that not only carries harsh legal penalties, but also plays a role in our state’s substance abuse problem. Smurfing happens when meth “cooks” approach pharmacy and retail customers to purchase certain cold and allergy medicines for them, which they then use to make meth.

Our lawmakers have put smart laws in place limiting the amount of those medicines that people can buy, causing criminals to turn to smurfing. Our campaign’s goal is to educate Mainers and prevent upstanding citizens from unwittingly getting themselves into trouble.

Over the past five months, advocates of the campaign have met with over 30 police departments, 20 pharmacies and numerous community groups to spread the word and raise awareness. Pharmacies have been distributing campaign materials to customers and our posters have been displayed throughout the state. With the support of law enforcement, lawmakers, retailers and pharmacists, this campaign is not only playing an important role in the fight against meth production, but serving as an example of the good that can be accomplished when communities work together to solve a problem.

Amelia Arnold

president, Maine Pharmacy Association


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