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NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain — With some water, a few household items and common cold medicine, a teen can cook up what some people are calling the new crack cocaine: methanphetamine.

The growing popularity of using cold pills to make the highly addictive drug is why Navy Exchange stores worldwide are now limiting the number of pseudoephedrine products customers can buy.

Such products as Advil Cold and Sinus Caplets, Tylenol Cold Caplets and Sudafed Cold/Allergy Tablets are among the 21 Navy Exchange items containing pseudoephedrine. Customers can only buy two items per transaction.

Navy base stores implemented the restrictions this month hoping to help prevent people from making methamphedtamine. Some department and drug stores in the United States have similar policies.

“Just for the health of our customers and our Navy family we’re following other retailers in the industry in limiting how many they can purchase,” Navy Exchange Service Command spokeswoman Kristine Sturkie said from Virginia Beach, Va.

Base commissaries do not have any policy regarding the medication, said Flo Dunn, a spokeswoman for the Defense Commissary Agency in Fort Lee, Va. But Army and Air Force exchange stores do.

They restrict who can buy the medicine, but do not limit the amount people can buy. Customers under the age of 18 cannot purchase over-the-counter products containing pseudoephedrine or Dextromethorphan at Army and Air Force and Exchange Service stores, said AAFES spokesman Judd Anstey in Dallas. Customers must show identification to purchase the products.

The age restriction went into place in February based on guidelines provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Anstey said.

In Oklahoma, Army and Air Force bases pulled pseudoephedrine products to meet state law, which requires the items to be behind a pharmacist counter.

Methamphetamine, known as “ice,” “crystal meth” or “crank,” can be snorted, orally ingested, injected or smoked. It can create a sense of euphoria, increased libido and a burst of energy, according to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America’s Web site. However, it is extremely addictive, can cause depression, organ damage, heart attack and death.

Making the drug can also be dangerous.

Using cold medication to create meth has grown in popularity because it is relatively cheap and easy to do. A simple Internet search can turn up several Web sites that offer “recipes” and step-by-step directions on how to make it on your own kitchen.

At Navy bases, exchange stores planned to put up signs explaining the new rule, Sturkie said. In Rota, General Manager Gerald Outar talked about the new policy during a town hall-style meeting earlier this month at the naval station.


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