Tennessee C-stores in Drug Enforcement Program

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Tennessee C-stores in Drug Enforcement Program

NASHVILLE -- Tennessee's convenience store clerks, along with drugstore cashiers and others will participate in a drug enforcement program as part of a new effort to stem methamphetamine production in the state, according to The (Nashville) Tennessean.

A new voluntary program called ''Meth Watch" was unveiled yesterday by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's acting director, David Jennings.

Under the program, posters will be posted in stores informing store employees about the products used to make meth, a highly addictive drug that can be produced in a kitchen using a variety of common products, such as drain opener, muriatic acid and cold pills. Stores affected include convenience stores, drugstores, discount retailers such as Wal-Marts and grocery stores, The Tennessean reported.

Store clerks are asked to report anyone buying suspicious amounts of such items by calling a toll-free number, 1-877-TNN-METH (866-6384). The number, to be activated by the end the week, will be staffed 24 hours a day, with information forwarded to drug agents in that county. An investigation could follow.

The program is a cooperative venture of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Tennessee Sheriffs Association, the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police and the Tennessee Retail Association. There is no reward for the clerks if someone is convicted, the newspaper reported.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, the number of meth lab confiscations in the state has grown from 235 in fiscal year 2000 to 1,154 in 2003. In a majority of cases, DEA statistics show firearms are present when authorities conduct raids, according to the report.