Criminals can cook meth using a variety of household and consumer products.

The key ingredient is pseudoephedrine, found in many nonprescription cold medications. To combat meth production, North Carolina law only allows cold medications with this ingredient to be sold from behind a pharmacy counter.

You must be at least 18 years old and present a photo ID in order to buy these products. You're also limited to no more than two packages at onces and no more than three packages within 30 days.

Under state law, North Carolina pharmacies use an electronic tracking system to log all purchases of products containing pseudoephedrine. This lets the retailer know if the buyer has reached the legal limit so the store can stop the sale.

The electronic system, called NPLEx, links pharmacies in more than 20 states and has stopped thousands of questionable purchases in North Carolina this year.

This law is helping to keep the number of meth labs in North Carolina in check.

Products that can be used in meth labs include:

  • Pseudoephedrine (found in cold medicines)
  • Alcohol
  • Lantern fuel or camp stove fuel
  • Lye
  • Drain Cleaner
  • Gasoline additives
  • Rubbing or denatured alcohol
  • Paint thinner (Xylene)
  • Starter fluid
  • Battery acid
  • Lithium (from batteries)
  • Antifreeze
  • Acetone
  • Energy boosters
  • Chloroform
  • Diet aids
  • Epsom salts or rock salts
  • Iodine
  • Matches (books or boxes)
  • Kitty litter
  • Chemicals such as sulphuric acid, muratic acid and toluene
  • Anhydrous ammonia (a gas often stored in tanks and stolen from farmers who use it for legal purposes)