Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, is cracking down on the sale of medicines made with ephedrine and pseudoephedrine in order to control production of homemade methamphetamine, one of the country’s most common drugs.
The Prague Post said the two chemicals are key ingredients of pervitine — “a more refined form” of crystal methamphetamine, or speed — and are commonly found in cold medicines.
The National Drug Squad will restrict sales to one package per week and will coordinate pharmacy databases to monitor purchases.
Most of the European Union’s methamphetamines originate in the Czech Republic, where it is made in homemade laboratories and smuggled across borders.
The use of speed, which was given to Nazi soldiers during World War II to stimulate alertness and fight fatigue, became widespread during the former Czechoslovakia’s communist era.
The Post reports that around 60 percent of the country’s drug crimes revolve around methamphetamines, which are cheap and widely available.
The Prague Post, November 12, 2008