AG Schimel Applauds Gov. Walker for Signing NPLEx Bill and Thanks Lawmakers
MADISON, Wis. – Today, Attorney General Brad Schimel thanked Governor Scott Walker and lawmakers for signing and supporting Assembly Bill 306, also known as the NPLEx Bill, into law. This bill authored by Rep. Horlacher and former Sen. Harsdorf will allow Wisconsin to join the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx) System.
“Add NPLEx to the long list of meaningful changes enacted by the state legislature and Governor Walker that give us additional tools to beat drug manufacturing, trafficking, and abuse,” said Attorney General Schimel. “33 other states already using the National Precursor Log Exchange system have seen the illegal sale of pseudoephedrine dramatically reduced, leading to a reduction in the amount of meth that can be produced in small, home-based meth labs.”
Meth is a commonly available, illegal, and powerfully addictive drug. In addition to being produced in large scale quantities in Mexico, meth is also commonly manufactured illegally in small, home-based labs using pseudoephedrine, a common ingredient in over-the-counter allergy and cold medications.
To get around quantity restrictions and paper tracking systems, home-based meth labs illegally extract pseudoephedrine from cold and allergy medicine to manufacture meth by utilizing a deceptive purchasing process known as “smurfing.” Smurfing happens when small home-based labs target small gas stations, hardware stores, pharmacies, and other retailers that use a paper log system by traveling to the different locations and purchasing the maximum amount of pseudoephedrine.
Law enforcement identified the tracking tool known as the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx) system as a way to prevent smurfing from happening and reduce the manufacturing of meth. NPLEx is available at no cost to state agencies and its users, including pharmacies, retailers, and law enforcement when a state passes electronic tracking legislation.
Attorney General Brad Schimel saw the oncoming threat of methamphetamine in Wisconsin more than two years ago. In addition to testifying in favor of the NPLEx bill, Attorney General Schimel has also taken the following steps to combat the production, sale, abuse, and danger of methamphetamine:
- Appointed an assistant attorney general as a methamphetamine prosecutor in response to the drastic increase in meth-related cases.
- Hired an analyst at the Wisconsin Statewide Information Center (WSIC) and purchased equipment for investigating meth labs; and is providing training and financial support for the efforts of local law enforcement agencies and multi-jurisdictional drug task forces. A $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice funds these initiatives.
- Hired four additional criminal investigation agents who are focused on drug interdiction and drug trafficking, the result of 2017 Wisconsin Act 35.
- Attorney General Schimel, who was an integral part of establishing the Waukesha County drug treatment court when he was the county’s district attorney, has expanded the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s (DOJ) treatment alternatives and diversion program across the state. Governor Walker signed 2017 Wisconsin Act 32 into law, which allocates an additional $2,000,000 to DOJ for drug treatment court grants in Wisconsin counties.
- Successfully sought a stay from the Supreme Court of the United States in Anderson, et al. v. Loertscher, a challenge to the state’s Unborn Child Protection Act. The Unborn Child Protection Act or 1997 Wisconsin Act 292 gives state actors the legal authority to assist substance-addicted, pregnant women with their addiction, thus protecting both the mothers and their unborn children.
- In March, Attorney General Schimel and agents from DOJ’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) partnered with the Marshfield Clinic on the Northwoods Coalition Methamphetamine Summit in Trego, Wisconsin, to provide training to more than 300 professionals representing a multi-disciplinary team of public safety, public health, drug treatment, and prevention.
- Cynthia Giese, a Special Agent in Charge (SAC) at DCI leads the nation’s Drug Endangered Children (DEC) program. DEC programs are composed of multi-disciplinary professionals including law enforcement, child protective services, medical providers, prosecutors, school personnel, and corrections officers. All of the professionals play a part in the rescue and support of drug endangered children. The children are provided with services that assist in providing the drug endangered child with a safe environment in which to live and grow up. Each program has a formal Memorandum of Understanding between involved agencies and a protocol that sets out guidelines of what each professional will do when a drug endangered child is identified.