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    Lawyers Educate Retailers on the Sale of Cold Medicine

    "Know Your Rights" seminar teaches convenience operators the rules of selling medicine linked to methamphetamine production.

    ATLANTA -- Members of the North American South Asian Bar Association and IndusBar of Georgia presented "Know Your Rights," an educational session hosted by the Atlanta Retailers Association focusing on the sale of cold medicine to more than 200 convenience operators and employees here.

    The presenters taught attendees the laws and regulations pertaining to the sale of certain cold medicines. It began with a discussion about the arrest of 49 convenience store owners and employees in Rome, Ga., on charges of the illegal sale of the precursors to methamphetamine. Of those 49, 44 were of South Asian decent.

    Georgia is one of many states that recently passed laws to restrict the sale of certain cold medicines such as Sudafed, and retailers were notified to be suspicious of sales involving charcoal, coffee filters, aluminum foil and kitty litter.

    Speakers included a federal narcotics prosecutor, a Gwinnett County assistant district attorney, a criminal defense attorney and an immigration lawyer.

    "The use and manufacture of methamphetamines has skyrocketed primarily because it can be made from everyday products," said speaker Dave Vatti, assistant U.S. attorney from Connecticut. "And convenience and grocery stores are in the forefront," he added.

    Federal limitations on the amount of drugs containing pseudoephedrine went into effect on Sept. 30. In the law, drugs containing the ingredient must be locked behind counters and are limited in the amount that someone can buy in a month. The law also requires purchasers to supply a photo ID for the drug and retailers to keep the purchaser's information for at least two years after purchase, according to the Food and Drug Administration's Web site. For single serve drugs containing less than 60 milligrams, the information does not have to be recorded, however the drugs must still be kept behind the counter.

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