The locally-produced hard drug pervitin remains a serious problem in the fight against drug addiction in the Czech Republic. The drug has a similar effect as cocaine but is cheaper and easier to acquire on the black market. Efforts to curb its production by cutting illegal producers off from one of its essential ingredients pseudoephedrine have run into problems with Czech producers smuggling it large-scale from Poland and Slovakia.
Every year police uncover between 300 and 400 home labs supplying some 40,000 pervitin users around the country. A 2009 Czech regulation restricting the sale of flu medicine containing the substance pseudoefedrine which is essential for the drugs’ production was meant to drastically reduce the amount of pervitin available on the market. But the reality proved different. Drug producers stocked up on flu medicine well in advance and when their home stocks were depleted they simply started acquiring the substance from neighbouring Poland and Slovakia where no restrictions regarding flu medicine are in place. With all three countries being part of the Schengen space the smuggling of huge amounts of flu medicine, which is only available on prescription or in small amounts on an ID in the Czech Republic, has not proved a problem.
In an effort to curb this practice the Czech Republic and Poland have now agreed to set up a special joint team to monitor the situation and map the main routes used by smugglers. In the meantime the Czech government is trying to persuade the Polish and Slovak authorities to restrict the sale of over-the-counter medicine containing the said pseudoephedrine. According to the head of the police’s anti-drug centre Jakub Frydrych with scant success
One of the reasons may be that the illegal production of pervitin in home labs is primarily a Czech problem. However ignoring it would be short-sighted. Not only is some of the drug smuggled abroad but there have been cases where drug addicts in Germany paid Czech producers of the drug to come over and make it locally for them.
Now police statistics indicate that the illegal production and distribution of pervitin is moving east : closer to the source of widely accessible pseudoefedrine. While in the past year the police uncovered 54 home labs in southern Moravia and 44 in Zlin, it only found 7 in the Plzen and 2 in the Pardubice regions. The number of addicts dependent on the drug pervitin is also higher in the eastern part of the country where it jumped from 5 to 7 thousand in the past two years.