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Methamphetamine: Feds Make First Cold Medicine Bust Under Combat Meth Act

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #480)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

An Ontario, New York, man last Friday won the dubious distinction of being the first person arrested under the 2005 Combat Meth Epidemic Act. According to a DEA press release, William Fousse was arrested for purchasing cold tablets containing more than nine grams of pseudoephedrine within a one month period.

Busted for Bronkaid
Under the Combat Meth Act, passed with little scrutiny when it was attached to a bill renewing provisions of the Patriot Act, chemicals widely used as cold remedies or other non-prescription medicines that can also be used in home meth manufacture, such as ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine, are now "scheduled listed chemical products."

Products containing these chemicals are now kept behind the counter. In order to purchase them, one must show identification and sign a log book at pharmacies. DEA and state and local law enforcement monitor those logbooks to see if anyone is buying amounts over the limit.

"This is a first for DEA," crowed DEA Western New York Special Agent in Charge John Gilbride. "DEA's focus is to dismantle clandestine methamphetamine labs and trafficking organizations and to also monitor the products that are illegally used to produce methamphetamine. DEA is committed to keeping our communities safe from the dangers of methamphetamine production and abuse. Today's arrest is a warning to those who violate the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act."

Fousse is alleged to have purchased more than 400 Bronkaid tablets containing a total of more than 29 grams of ephedrine during the month of January -- more than three times the legal limit -- at one pharmacy and to have purchased a like amount at two others. It was a call from the first pharmacist to the DEA's Buffalo office that set the wheels in motion.

DEA agents visited Fousse at his home on February 13. According to a police affidavit, Fousse said he was unaware of the law, was not selling the pills to meth cooks, and was using the stuff himself. That was not good enough for the DEA and federal prosecutors. He faces a May 1 court date.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

They should still have to prove he was using them inappropriately... That should have
been written into the bill.

Fri, 04/06/2007 - 3:56pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Wouldn't have been simpler to write a law requiring a prescription for these "precursors"?,,,,,,,,,,,,no, that wouldn't do. The pharmaceutical companies make a nice buck marketing often useless across-the-counter preparations. And besides, we're grown up around here and know that idiotic laws that give the DEA and it's sister SS goons more power are just the ticket for hungry politicians and a lazy media.

Fri, 04/06/2007 - 6:44pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

"Today's arrest is a warning to those who violate the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act."

And that is the point. It really matters not if he was or wasn't using them innapropriately. What matters is that people KNOW that Big Government is watching their purchases and WILL arrest them if they purchase anything suspect.

Sat, 04/07/2007 - 11:57am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Now I know that people have to recover from a cold naturally! No more of this medicine BS.

I knew the government was good for something :>D

Sat, 04/07/2007 - 8:16pm Permalink
Amandaline (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

What about people with diagnosed chronic sinus and respitory problems, whose doctors are prescribing the medication for them. Does big brother, know better than the GP and an independant ENT, plus multiple concerring medical opinions. Is that what they will do if the fix health care, replace the insurance companies who come between the doctor and patient for the sake of profits, with the government who will come between the doctor and the patient for the sake of fighting their drug war, which in the past 70 years, they have not succeeded in ending. I know it was not called the "Drug War" until the past 25 years or so, but the laws outlawing drugs really began, when prohibition ended. I suppose the gangsters needed something to replace their losses, when prohition was repealed.

I am so against recreational drug use, you cannot imagine. I grew up in the seventies and people called me a prude, a priss, a snitch and everything else. If my neighbor was running a "meth lab" I would turn that neighbor in to the police, before the guy could complete a quarter of a blink,
but this law is bad.

The Sudafedrine laws are bad laws:

They do not take into account, persons with chronic medical conditions, seasonal medical conditions, persons with disabilities, care givers who buy for their entire family ( who are mostly women), people preparing to travel, people stocking there house hold evacuation kits for natural disasters or in the case of terrorism.

The law discriminates against persons with sinus and respitory diseases and it also is discriminatory against women as well.

Bad law is bad law.

Sun, 10/18/2009 - 12:47am Permalink
mike 85613 (not verified)

In reply to by Amandaline (not verified)

The answer is yes. They pass the laws and regulate the drugs, chemicals and other stuff we get exposed to. When was the last time you bought morphine? Or asprin? Asprin has been linked to rye's syndrome. It was given to kids and caused major long term health problems. But in a "free" society things are allowed UNTIL they cause problems to the government, people speaking up. The government never looked into deaths from depressed adolescents. But parents did. They found a significant statistical link between MOIs and the suicide rate among hormonal teens. Suicideal thoughts were acted on instead of being rationalized out of their heads. Mist suicides are spontanious acts with permanent consequences. That is why they are covered in life insurance policies. I took pseudoephedrine for sinus congestion, it help lead to high blood pressure. The legal dose levels allow for the prescribed amount. It doesn't even target people who buy it and stock pile it for a batch, or look at people who live at the same address. They are carefully targeting excessive purchases. The book they have to sign says exactly what the legal limit is and what it is for. If you are caught unaware it is your fault for not staying diligent.How about consuming alcohol and taking antibiotics? Do you think your PA came up with that or even the pharmacist that cheated her way through organic chemistry because the payoff was worth the risk? If you have to rely on your witts you may want to get better insurance, blue bell anyone?
Fri, 05/15/2015 - 2:06am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I like to use ephedrine for medicinal purposes. i think It's sad that just because dumbass pple turn it into meth that everyone suffers. That just proves that the DEA sucks! Peace!

Sun, 04/08/2007 - 6:56am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

This law has just increased the amount of meth produced other ways and given the dea an excuse to prosecute relatively innocent people. Then they can confiscate their money and properties even before a trial thanks to drug laws.

Have a great day! Do it! >:-]

Mon, 04/09/2007 - 12:13pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I have chronic allergies and must take a decongestant/antihistamine every day. Until this law was passed I was happy to take Claritin-D daily, but now each time I go to the counter, I am treated like a criminal. Not only that, but sometimes the pharmacy doesn't have the 15-pill boxes and will sell me a 5- or 10- pill box. Since the pharmacy limits me to two boxes per month (regardless of the quantity) and since there are approximately 30 days in each month, I am forced to go to another pharmacy (which is a huge inconvenience) and/or do without.

I finally got fed up with the system and insisted that my doctor write me a prescription. I now take Allegra-D every day, at a cost of more than $100/month to my insurance company and $25/month to me.

I would very much like to kick the legislators who wrote this law in the nuts (or worse). What a bunch of fucking idiots.

Fri, 04/20/2007 - 8:08pm Permalink
Amandaline (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

You are more fortunate than I. I cannot take Allegra, so I am stuck with no medicine for my allergies, sinus condition, respitory problem and Asthma, all of which are Chronic. Both My GP and my ENT used to have me taking Claretin D24 daily as well as an additional Sudafed daily. When my BP went up, they reduced the Sudafed to if needed when as when I fly or if I am having a particularly bad day and the PE is not effective enough. That said, even with a prescription for the Claretin D24 and a history of prescriptions for it, I cannot always get what I need and as prescribed. especially if I am traveling or if my home has flooded and some medicnes have fallen into the waters or been soaked after a water pipe has burst, event with documentation from FEMA, the police and insurance companies.

I too am treated like a crimminal, for attempting to treat my medical disabilities. I am trying to get the ACLU to act on the behalf of persons with disabilities.

The laws also unfairly target women as women still do most of the care giving in this nation and are still more apt to be buying cold medicines for their families.

Anyone who is interested in joining my efforts please contact me at [email protected]

Sat, 10/17/2009 - 11:27pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I find it quite telling, that this poor guy had no knowledge of the limits. You see, they don't post the monthly limit at pharmacies. A daily limit of 3.6G is what is seen at the counter but no mention of the monthly amount.

This bust isn't about stopping meth. It's about creating statistics. I've just learned about this limit and was doing research and found this article, somewhat belatedly. Perhaps too late, as I may very well be in the same boat. No. I'm not making meth. Not selling pills to people who do either. It's cheap asthma control. I'm a roofer and trust me, if you have breathing difficulties, there's no better option. Not at my salary.

I live in NY stae and the odds of coming into contact with meth here, is roughly the same as getting hit by a meteorite. It's just not here. Seriously, that stuff has been on the streets for about 40 years. If it was going to hit this state, it would have. No... It's not about stopping meth. It's about STARTING it up. A year ago, nobody around here had even heard of meth. Now, it's a hot topic. What better way to advertise something, than to make it sensasionalist news. To clandestinely pass laws and arrest people for breaking those laws without their knowledge?

Mon, 05/07/2007 - 7:10am Permalink
hydro9177 (not verified)

Well, this will just make the meth. cooks send dozens of people to pharmacies, buying a box at time. Brilliant.

Wed, 06/06/2007 - 10:45pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)


Tue, 07/10/2007 - 1:32am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Like others mentioned above, I too have chronic allergies and take over the counter meds because my doc WON'T write me a prescription for something I can/am supposed to be able to buy over the counter.

My husband was sick this month, so I went over my limit. I have no idea what the limit is or when the limit is reset, so in the mean time, I have to go without.

This law has helped to catch ONE meth head while the rest of us are suffering!!

As a teacher, I wonder how the law makers would like it if I use that type of reasoning with their children in school.... "I'm sorry, no one will get to use the pencil sharpener because someone might turn it into a weapon....:"

Tue, 03/04/2008 - 5:57pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I do not know which state you are in, but here in NYS, even with a prescription, which medicare does not cover, but I am willing to pay out of pocket for the right to breath a little bit better and get my peak flow meter up to a wopping 250, yet even with the prescription the pharmicist said they could not sell it too me. How can I possibly trust the government to handle health care in a way, which will be in my best interest, when I cannot even get the medication, which I am supposed to be taking, as recommend by both my GP and an ENT, who has a totoally independant practice from the GP, with several counties of distance between them.

I am hearing this same complaint from Asthmetics, allergy suffers and people with chronic sinus conditions. It is even endangering lives. Packing an emergency evacuation kit and stocking it with the medications you will need as recommended by both the American Red Cross and the government itself, is not even possible.

Traveling has become a night mare. In order to get enough medicine for a three week cruise or a three week stay in a third world nation or a three week camping trip in the extreme wilderness etc, I have to skip doses of prescribed medical treatments, so that I risk getting seriously ill at home near my doctor and hospital, rather than when and where, I would be in more jeopardy of becoming ill with fewer resources for help in an emergency.

We, those of use with chronic sinus troubles of all types, need to come together and address this, before this law results in the death of someone, who cannot get the medicine in which they are in need.

Sat, 10/17/2009 - 11:46pm Permalink
mike 85613 (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

You maybe miserable but you haven't caused your liver to fail yet either. Research the med doses and calculate your weight/ dose limits. It may be a good idea to see what else is out there. Remimber necessity is the father of invention or innovation. Your inconvenience could lead to better treatments or cures. What about smoking bans, could that help your allergies?
Fri, 05/15/2015 - 2:16am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)


You sound like a complete asshole!!! If he was using legal pills appropriately, then why should he be punished severely?

Sat, 10/18/2008 - 7:45am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Congratulations DEA, America is now officially the land of the persecuted. I sit here with a sinue infection, unable to breathe and afraid to use my last expired pseudoephedrines. I remember when I used my last expired phenylpropanolamine--I was so desperate to breathe... While pseudoephedrine is nowhere near as effective phenylpropanolamine, at least it did something. Now I must choose whether to sleep for the first time in a week or to continue hacking up and sneezing out flourescent pus for another day.

Thu, 02/05/2009 - 2:03pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Seroiusly you guys are either stupid or dillusional to think he was using this legit. If he bought 400 tabs at multiple pharmacies, lets say that means 3, then he is going through 40 tabs per day. The box says max 6 tabs per day. Oh but I'm sure there was a good reason to take it at nearly 7 times the reccomended dose. And I am sure the DEA would use their discretion if this was a family of ten with asthma.

Sun, 02/22/2009 - 8:13pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Then why was an Indiana grandmother arrested for going over her allottment because she bought a box for her husband and a box for her grown daughter of two different medicnes ( not everyone can take the same medicines).

Why was another woman in Indiana arrested when here seasonal allergy use put her over the limit.

If they were using such discresion, why are these ladies under arrest.

Why can't I get the medication I need, even when I have a prescription for the over the counter product?

Why if I leave the country on vacation in the middle of the month and will need a supply to last into the following month, can I not get the medications I am supposed to be taking as prescribed by both my GP and an idependant ENT?

Sat, 10/17/2009 - 11:55pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Alright, I use Bronkaid for asthma on a regular basis. The monthly limit is 9 grams. Bronkaid comes in 25 mg tabs. That's 360 tabs per month (in a 30 days month), which equates to 12 tabs per day. I can't imagine why someone would need to take more than that. Even on the worst days, 4 - 6 tabs is sufficient, and I'm stuck wide awake until 2am. Anyone needing more than 12 of these per day needs to have their condition diagnosed by a physician and begin seeking out alternative methods of relief. Having said all of that, I believe the government is overstepping some boundaries here. It should be the responsibility of the pharmacy to limit the sell of products if they are keeping a logs. Instead of calling the DEA, the pharmacist should have simply told the guy, "Hey there's a 9 gram monthly limit, I can't sell you any more of this." I'm not necessarily against the laws in place to regulate the sell of the product, but they shouldn't be used to persecute people.

Sat, 04/25/2009 - 4:34pm Permalink
Cary McSorley (not verified)

This is bs, yes I am against meth manufacture, and you can turn $900 into $3000 with psudeo to meth, there are over 300 ways to manufacture d-methamfetamine, pestacides, p2p(phenlprop) epedrine, phenly groups ect... so why crack down on just one? anyway having been clean for years i relize meth is sick, but there many other things we can do to stop this abuse maybe, have a junkie police that stop people at checkpoints tolook at peoples arms for track marks from needles and then beat them frantlickly :D

Fri, 05/29/2009 - 2:57pm Permalink
N. Meaedow (not verified)

Seeing as that I truly am a friend of Bill's (actually 2 of them) , perhaps some of
you people who agree with the law and those that don't , might want to know
exactly what kind of person he really is.................I was working with him at the
time of his "capture" . If you would like a response on here , just ask a question .
I will be happy to answer .

Sun, 10/11/2009 - 12:45am Permalink

i too have been buying too much ephedrine. i take them primatene pills every day i buy way too many and any day i am afraid the police will come to my door where they wont find a lab or anything. i just have a problem taking too many will i go to prison for this?

Sun, 10/17/2010 - 12:38pm Permalink
Anonymousnous (not verified)

In reply to by dougie (not verified)

I feel for ya dougie!  I too rely on too much primatene. Diagnosed with asthma very young, I have been prescribed various relief inhalers. Unfortunately, they only worked half way leaving me with phlegm that while loosened, would not clear entirely. At this point I was left coughing constantly as the phlegm seemed to only rise partially to my throat. After years of this dilemma, I accepted the assertion that I am too dumb apparently, to use the inhaler correctly and switched to Primatene, happily satisfied ever since. Unfortunately, I have built a tolerance to Primatene over 20 years and usually require more than allowed by the DEA. I probably need to find a different solution to my problem at this point but damnit, this works, and that's all I care about right now! 24 pills in a day is not uncommon for me. I know it's a matter of tolerance, when I first started taking Primatene, 2 pills at a time would make me sick. Current amounts are simply what's needed to do the job. I'm going back to a Dr. prescribed inhaler to try and reduce my need for Primatine.

Personally, I am worried about my recorded purchases getting me in trouble too. The whole reason we have a "war on drugs" is because it's easier to sell "getting tough on crime" than trying to explain an intelligent approach to our problems. Politicians simply wish to sell their constituents on the appearance that they are taking care of the problem. If the people buy it, everybody feels good to just move on to the next issue. Americans like the strong arm approach, it seems an easy fix and nobody has to think real hard about an actual solution. When it doesn't work, increase the funding, up the penalties. Golly, I feel better just saying it!

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 8:35pm Permalink
mike 85613 (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymousnous (not verified)

My sister-in-law was diagnosed with asthma when she moved to California. But she hasn't had trouble breathing in other states. Just the smoggy area she lived. Old people here are prescribed to move to the desert where there are less allergens, peresonally hard wood dust in nasty to me. You might want to take a road trip and test this theory. Even people in Nyc go to the country on weekends to help them recover from the week.
Fri, 05/15/2015 - 2:26am Permalink
JG (not verified)

I am not a big fan of medications period.  However, when it comes to respiratory issues I completely see the importance of taking such chemicals, as they are very likely life saving (I have a little bit of a background in medicinal chemistry - just a little - which was my major in college).  Here's the saddest part about this...I have heard that this man picks up medications for himself and his sister who also has whatever hereditary bronchial issue he may have.  So, he picks up meds for himself and his family member and gets arrested????  I have to wonder how often this will happen when one person is not able to get out and purchase their own OTC meds?   Probably an easy fix, but still demonstrates the ignorance of our so called "drug police".  If they really want to save lives, keep these greedy, uncaring pharmaceutical companies from using direct advertising (count how many medication commercials you see while watching your favorite show on TV) in an effort to get people to ask their doctor about trying the med.  The reality is, with decreasing physician reimbursements from insurance companies, they need to keep their patients happy.  If they do not agree to give the patient the medication they want, that patient may very well "fire" that doc and find another who will prescribe it.  I'm not saying every doc is like this, in fact, I do have a high opinion of those in the medical field.  The majority are honest in their desire to enhance and save lives.  But the hard truth is this:  a person dies every 12 minutes from prescription drug side effects (not including overdoses).  And yet we still allow pharmaceutical companies to stroke our backs and see if we purr?  The US consumes more medications than every other country on this earth.  If our miracle drugs are so amazing and effective and lifesaving, it would make sense then that with our advanced technology that we would have the longest living and most healthy people?  Correct?  Well, the World health Organization (WHO) ranked the countries in health and life expectancy and we finished 26th!!!  You do not have to be a PhD to know that is strong evidence that we are not benefiting from the handful of chemicals we place in our bodies each day (myself included, as I take a cholesterol med because of the peer pressure that I could have a heart attack and leave my young son without a father.  I'm shamed, but take my chances even though I wonder if the med will kill me before the heart attack).  There's a saying that if we dumped all the medications on earth into the oceans, it would be good for humankind, but bad for the fish.  With the exception of drugs for insulin needs, MS, COPD and some others that actually are life saving or enhancing, that might be the truest quote of all.


Sun, 11/27/2011 - 12:57pm Permalink
xmethlover (not verified)

First I have always enjoyed a buzz whether its a drink a joint or yes even a little meth. Meth is the cure for the common cold , chronic pain, ADHD, and I even know three people who had cirvecal cancer and now they don't. Anyway it was used by by doctors for many medical reasons before they outlawed it. Anybody who does too much of anything has a problem or problems from abusing whatever they are doing to much of. This could be anything alcohol, sex,work: drugs and so on. Most of everything they have outlawed was used for something before it became a problem. Since the cops the governmet and everyone else who decided to make all this illegall , did this because they are idiots and couldnt think of anything that would really help or solve the problemOthr countries that got rid of there drug laws have found that their crime rate has went down.ALSO THERE'S PLENTY of room in jail for the real criminals. You know baby rapers, murderers, thiefs, armed robbery and so on. Some with a drug problem or whatever theirontrol addiction us should be given behavuoral health treatment . Addicts are addicted to everything they never do it small time it's always to a extreme and this is bad no matter wether it's legal are illegal cause they are out of control and ya that means big fat people they AAA rE out of control with there food imagine that but they don't send them to jail AMD don't take their food stamps away by the you can molest a child and they will still give you food stamps, but that's another subject totally anyway if they just Give us free will like god does none of us would be haven these problems. I too have bad siunitous(however) cause of my past history I'm not allowed to by even one box or I could go to a federal prison. The other stuff just don't work. I know you think we'll that is your own fault maybe it is but if didn't have all these crazy laws they make up cause can really solve the problem and actually help someone instead they people's live forever and put them in a place most of them don't belong. Yes I know a lot of people do stupid stuff for but note I could never hurt anyone or rob a place much less a person. People who do that already have that meanness in them and they have no contience to begin with. Truth is there are a lot of good people out there who have a addiction problem. I guarantee you people you know and would never dream of them using do and do it while still functioning a normal or even awesome life. They just don't go crazy or overboard with it. People who read books about things shouldn't be trying to solve problems just cause they think they know what's best for all of us on the USA bit the truth is they don't and I would never read a book about open heart surgery and then try to preform it on someone then they could and and should put me in prison. It's ashame we live in the land of the free and we are not even allowed to chose what we medicine we want to make us feel better and they feed us lies about stuff just to turn us against it and some of us are stupid enough to believe it just like lambs being led to slaughter we believe them think they know best and would never do anything to hurt us and follow them to be slaughtered. Wake up people they are not here to help us but to tell us what to do just chase they say so and in reality they really don't care as long as they think they know best. Ha ha I guess Obama care is good idea too just the low income people who afford insurance now or they'd have it but now there is gonna be even more money takin out of their check like they can afford that. The government and all the rule makers have no idea what the he'll their doin except for what their told to do. We are not the land of the free but the land of the blind. And people who have no idea about matters except what their told or read get make decsions about stuff they have never been around or experienced. I bet if they let us little people who to them don't even matter or Not as important make some of the laws we might live in a better place and not be afraid to normal everyday things without fear of getting in trouble ,judged, or looked at like a criminal. And again people who use drugs and hurt innocent people are already bad people before they start using cause believe me I have never ever did anything to hurt or take from anyone what they earned and deserve, no matter how bad I wanted to get high I'm just not that kind person I have a big heart and I am a good person and the only time I might be dangerous is you mess with my family and the people I love for your own selfish, heartless crimes that you commit on innocent people,like the knock out game, they are not on drugs they just have no heart or compasison and thinks the world owes them. God is the only one who can judge me.
Wed, 02/13/2013 - 10:29am Permalink

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