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Mo. firm: Meth can't be made from its decongestant


ST. LOUIS (AP) — Several pharmacies in the St. Louis area are selling a new pseudoephedrine-based decongestant made by a local company that claims the drug cannot be used to make methamphetamine.

Pseudoephedrine, which can be found in cold and allergy pills, is a vital precursor for most meth recipes. Missouri has been especially hard hit by the meth epidemic, leading the nation in meth lab seizures every year but one since 2003.

Emilie Dolan, spokeswoman for Highland Pharmaceuticals, said Tuesday that the suburban St. Louis company spent years coming up with a form of pseudoephedrine that couldn't be used in meth production, resulting in Zephrex-D. A key to making meth is crystallization, and Dolan said Zephrex-D interrupts the process because rather than crystallizing when heated with the chemicals, it results in a gooey substance.

The federal Drug Enforcement Agency had been reviewing the drug, but the status of its testing wasn't immediately clear Tuesday.

Hugh Hefner, fiancee obtain marriage license

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hugh Hefner and Crystal Harris are again taking steps toward the altar, more than a year after the centerfold canceled their previous engagement and was branded a "runaway bride" in Playboy.

The couple obtained a marriage license Tuesday at a courthouse in Beverly Hills.

Harris called off the couple's previous engagement in June 2011, prompting Playboy to affix "runaway bride" stickers to an issue introducing her as Mrs. Hefner.

The Playboy founder has been married twice before.