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CONCERNED ABOUT ILLEGAL DRUG PRODUCTION, SHOPKO PHARMACIES REMOVE EPHEDRINE FROM OVER-THE-COUNTER SALE

 GREEN BAY, Wis., Sept. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The drug ephedrine, a mild stimulant recently linked to the production of the street drug methcathinone, has been removed from over-the-counter sale at the 117 pharmacies across the ShopKo chain.
 "Ephedrine, when used as directed, is not dangerous and provides relief from the symptoms of asthma," said Mike Bettiga, ShopKo vice president of pharmacy. "There is evidence, however, that the over-the- counter availability of this drug has allowed it to be used in illegal and dangerous ways. As responsible pharmacists, we are committed to doing what we can to prevent ephedrine's illegal use."
 Quantities of ephedrine were initially discovered in Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) raids on illegal methcathinone laboratories in the Michigan Upper Peninsula. Since then, law enforcement agencies have discovered a number of methcathinone laboratories in Michigan and Wisconsin. According to the DEA, the illegal, hallucinogenic drug methcathinone (or CAT) is produced with ephedrine is mixed with several other chemicals that are also readily available and have a variety of legitimate uses.
 Ephedrine will still be available in ShopKo pharmacies by prescription, according to Bettiga.
 ShopKo Stores, Inc. (NYSE: SKO) is a leading regional discount department store chain with 117 stores in 15 states, concentrated in the Upper Midwest, Mountain and Pacific Northwest states. The company recorded sales of $1.7 billion last year (fiscal year ended Feb. 27, 1993) and recently announced plans to build 37 new stores in 1994-1996. ShopKo stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange, Philadelphia, Midwest and Pacific exchanges under the symbol "SKO."
 -0- 9/30/93
 /CONTACT: Sheree Olson, director of public relations, ShopKo Stores, Inc., 414-496-4186/
 (SKO)


CO: ShopKo Stores, Inc. ST: Wisconsin IN: REA SU:

AR-LH -- CL003 -- 7064 09/30/93 06:30 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 30, 1993
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