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      Shelby Co. authorities say anti-smurfing campaign helping in battle against meth

      While the battle against methamphetamine is far from over, Shelby County authorities said a state law is slowly helping curb the dangerous problem.

      In a news conference at a Columbiana pharmacy Monday, Sheriff Chris Curry pointed to a Sept. 9 meth lab bust that hospitalized four Pelham police officers.

      "That's just the tip of the iceberg," said Sheriff Curry. "We see meth cooks in homes and apartments where there are children, we see the damage to the lifestyle of the families, and we see the theft that occurs in the attempt to get money to maintain this."

      Last year, Alabama became the first state to launch an anti-smurfing campaign. Smurfing is when customers shop from pharmacy to pharmacy and buy pseudoephedrine to make meth.

      "It's a slow process, but it had to get started," said Sheriff Curry. "We were on that slippery slope, and it was going the other direction."

      Smurfing is a felony, and a statewide database enables pharmacies to track the purchases of pseudoephedrine. The purchase limit in Alabama is 7.5 grams per month.

      "The demand side of it is up to the community, the public,{}schools, churches and{}the parents to stop the demand," added Sheriff Curry. "Our job is to work on the supply side, and this law has done a good job of helping us do that."