KINGSPORT, Tenn. — Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Tennessee Rep. Tony Shipley, R-Kingsport along with representatives from Food City and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, on Monday announced the expansion of Tennessee's statewide Anti-Smurfing Campaign.
"Smurfing remains one of the biggest challenges in the battle against methamphetamine production and abuse," Ramsey stated. "This campaign is an important step towards addressing this critical problem. It's a voluntary public education program that will be carried out by pharmacies across Tennessee."
The voluntary educational campaign aims to increase public awareness about the criminal enterprise known as "smurfing" — the practice of purchasing cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine on behalf of methamphetamine criminals.
The public-private partnership was developed by CHPA and is carried out by Tennessee pharmacies on a voluntary basis. Supporting the campaign are the Tennessee Pharmacists Association, Tennessee Retail Association, Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association and Tennessee Rural Health Association. CHPA tested anti-smurfing posters to ensure that they communicate impactful messaging without deterring legitimate consumers.
"Our pharmacists are on the front lines of the battle against meth production every day, and we are glad that committed leaders from across the state are joining together to raise awareness about this critically important issue," said Baeteena Black, Tennessee Pharmacists Association executive director. "This campaign is sending a clear message across Tennessee: if you're buying pseudoephedrine on behalf of a meth cook or dealer, you are committing a serious crime."
The Anti-Smurfing Campaign informs consumers through signage displayed at the point of sale that smurfing is a serious criminal offense and an integral part of the methamphetamine-production process. As a result, the simple act of buying certain cold or allergy products for a stranger can fuel Tennessee's methamphetamine problem.
The Tennessee Pharmacists Association has already begun distributing campaign signage to retailers across the state.