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Article Summary

Meth Shopper

Meth is produced from common ingredients that can be purchased from nearly any retail store. Monitoring the improper purchase, or theft, of materials used to make meth is an important step in reducing the availability of the drug. Retailers, store employees, and consumers can play an important role in deterring meth production by reporting suspicious shoppers to law enforcement.

What To Look For

The following are some products a meth shopper may have:

  • Multiple boxes of cold medicine containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine
  • Lithium batteries
  • Camping fuel
  • Rubber tubing
  • Coffee filters
  • Funnels
  • Gasoline additives
  • Iodine
  • Propane tanks
  • Rock salt
  • Alcohol
  • Drain cleaners

The following are some suspicious behaviors a meth shopper may display:

  • arrives at a store in a group, shops separately, then rejoins the group in parking lot
  • questions store employees on the amount of cold medicine they can buy under store policy
  • makes shifty movements
  • appears uncomfortable
  • exhibits paranoid mannerisms, such as looking over shoulder
  • displays a lack of personal hygiene
  • shows unusual sweating
  • Dresses inappropriately for weather condition

What To Do

If you notice an odd combination of any of the above indicators, you should:

  • Report the incident immediately to the manager of the store and to law enforcement.
  • DO NOT confront the suspicious shopper! Meth addicts can be dangerous when they are gathering materials to make the drug.
  • Keep your distance. Try to get out of the addict’s line of sight, without drawing attention to yourself. Remember, meth addicts can perceive anything as a threat!
  • If you are a retail employee and suspect that the items being purchased are for meth, continue with the transaction and report the incident after the person leaves the store.
  • Be ready to assist law enforcement by offering the following information, if possible:
    • 1. Description of shopper(s);
    • 2. Description of vehicle including make, model, color, and license plate number;
    • 3. Items purchased;
    • 4. Method of payment;
    • 5. Cash register receipt;
    • 6. Security photo, if available.

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