Get in Line for Sudafed


Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Jim Talent (R-Mo.) yesterday introduced a bill, dubbed the Combat Meth Act, that would allow sales of remedies containing pseudoephedrine only in pharmacies, require that they be kept behind the pharmacist's counter, force buyers to present ID and sign a registry, and limit purchases to nine grams (about a dozen 24-packs of Sudafed) a month. The restrictions, similar to rules enforced in Oklahoma, are aimed at limiting black-market chemists' access to pseudoephedrine, a methamphetamine precursor. But as I pointed out in the January issue of Reason, the Drug Enforcement Administration estimates that 80 percent of illicit meth consumed in the U.S. is produced by Mexican traffickers who buy pseudoephedrine in bulk, not a few packs at a time at the local 7-Eleven. In any case, methamphetamine can be produced in several ways that do not require pseudoephedrine, which Feinstein misleadingly calls a "key ingredient used to make meth." A co-sponsor of the bill, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), goes further, mistakenly describing pseudoephedrine as "a necessary ingredient to make meth."

The restrictions, in other words, are not likely to have a noticeable, lasting impact on methamphetamine consumption. But they will certainly be a big pain in the ass for cold and allergy sufferers. Implicitly acknowledging the problem, the bill includes "a hardship provision" that allows pharmacy-poor communities to beg the DEA for permission to buy cold and allergy pills in a convenience store.

NEXT: Delayed Retraction

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  1. But it's for the children!

  2. fight meth abuse: legalize cocaine.

  3. Anyone who needs more than a dozen 24-packs of Sudafed per month has bigger problems than cold and allergies.

  4. Anyone who thinks I should have to beg the DEA to allow over the counter sales of Sudafed in my neighborhood has bigger problems than being a myopic self-righteaous twit.

  5. This isn't already in place? I had to show my ID to buy Sudafed a couple weeks ago. Perhaps it was just a policy in my particular Wally World? I do happen to live "in the sticks", so perhaps.

  6. Make that righteous.

  7. What a bunch of do-gooder assholes. I'm with Adam! And all along I thought I was incapable of being with anyone.

  8. True, there should really be no reason to have to buy so much Sudafed, and true, this will have no noticable effect on Meth because it's not a key component and it's main supply comes from Mexico, but what about all the lost hours due to the bureaucracy this will entail? What a real pain in the ass. I'm sure these numbers are going to have to be turned into the gov't and now there wil be a new position created to handle the paperwork this entails, etc, etc.

  9. Most of our lives and resources are wasted on filling out, tracking and storing needless paperwork. I never hear a better answer than " just because" as to why.

  10. This too, will pass. After all, who is going to be so soft-on-crime that they will vote against something called the Combat Meth Act?

  11. I wrote my senators (Feinstein and Boxer) just yesterday. Little good that will do, however..

  12. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Jim Talent (R-Mo.)...

    Ah yes, the smell of bipartisanSHIT.

  13. Quote:

    ...limit purchases to nine grams (about a dozen 24-packs of Sudafed) a month.

    Who in the flying fuck is going to be keeping track of this stuff? How am I supposed to know if I went over, and more importantly, how's the gov't going to know I went over?

  14. Ranger-

    Many states already have these sorts of restrictions in place. Oregon recently required all of that sweet 'phed to be sold behind the counter, with ID. I imagine you must live in one of these states.

    These seems similar to behind-the-counter sales requirements for DMT-containing cough syrups - the "crisis" of kids tripping balls on Robo is now seemingly largely forgotten (but recently parodied by South Park).

  15. It may help reduce the meth plague. Anything that can help the police keep us all off drugs is inherintly a good thing. I'm all for it.

    I think it would be simpler, more effective, and better to just make sudaphed available by prescription only.

  16. What happens if you do go over the limit? Fines? Jail? Watch List? Terror Suspect?

  17. Fines? Jail? Watch List? Terror Suspect?

    Any and all of those measures would be entirely appropriate.

  18. I think we should ban alcohol, nicotine and caffeine, and make ALL other drugs available by prescription only. My 2 centavos.


  19. trollin, trollin, trollin, keep them doggies rollin, rawhide!!

  20. Jessica-
    I'd be offended if the legal limit were a thousand packs a month; the problem here is that they're keeping records of who is buying cold medicine, which in turn means that if you have a cold and want to buy some medicine to make yourself feel better, you have to show some form of government-approved (and issued) identification.

    Next time they do a thread about how public education's going to hell, please post.

  21. juanita's posts made me wonder if the pharmas will eventually fall in line with this because, even if there is technically no prescription required, the price information on the name-brand versus the generic is not going to be as obvious; prescription meds covered by insurance usually cover the generics only, but when you go up to the pharmacy counter and ask for Sudafed, are you likely to be given the name brand or the house brand of pseudophedrine? There won't be an insurance company behind the purchaser forcing the lower-cost one, and the end consumer won't see the price difference right there on the shelf. Perhaps the pharmacy may make it a customer service point to educate the customer, but in any event the pharmacy is going to be spending more time shagging OTC drugs from behind the counter, meaning increased labor costs, meaning someone has to pay more.

    And of course when the meth "problem" doesn't go away, the ineffective law won't be rescinded unless there's a strong lobby for it. Every law passed costs money.

  22. Oh please let this law pass. We'll never end the war on drugs until it becomes a major pain in the ass and absurdity to everyone. This will drive the message home.

    .....oh what am I saying? Most of the country will roll over for this one as well. Pissing in a cup to join the chess club didn't set off the danger flares.

  23. Not to stray from the libertarian line, but cutting off the hillbilly microlabs' supply will have great environmental effects. Those dudes leave foul messes behind in my friends' rental units. Leave it to the Mexican mafia monopolists, who must have higher standards.

  24. "Combat Meth Act"

    Just how much meth do our boys use in combat, anyway?

  25. In seriousness, methamphetamine is serious crazy-making stuff, and witnessing its effects on neighbors' lives tests ones libertarian instincts. Personally, I think it would be better use of law enforcement resources to legalize pot and direct the money toward stopping meth trafficking.

  26. As noted in the article, Oklahoma had taken steps to restict pseudoephedrine, followed by several other states. Each state was responding to its own issues, in its own particular way. True, most were following the example set by Oklahoma, but the possibility remained that the states could modify and refine the policy, to find a suitable balance between convenience and prohibition.

    However, there is nothing so annoying as a fed who sees a trend and scurries to get in front of the parade. So now, we will get another "one size fits all" policy (because federalism is DEAD, DEAD, DEAD) and the chance of an innovative compromise developing among the serveral states is DEAD, DEAD, DEAD.

    So, fellow libs, we have TWO attrocities being committed here: the restriction of a free people to trade for a useful good, and the federal government running roughshod over the states' ability to solve their own local issues. Nothing says "double penetration" quite like the federal government.

    Oh, and water is often used to cook meth. Can we have a restriction on water sales, too?

  27. Would somebody please drop a bomb on California's congressional delegation next time they get together? What an annoying bunch they are.

  28. North Dakota, where I currently have the great misfortune of living, passed a law a year ago allowing police to follow and question anyone who purchases more than two boxes of Sidafed at one time. When I dared to question the wisdom (not to mention the enforceability) of this law, the common response was, "well, people don't need that much Sudafed anyway." Not needing something is apparently reason enough to justify being hassled by the authorities.

    The weather sucks here too.

  29. D'oh. I screwed up the formatting in my previous (at 01:58 AM according to some weird clock that's two hours off mine):

    thoreau wrote everything above "Yummy."

    Except for the "thoreau says:" bit. That was all me, baby.

  30. We're about to put over-the-counter sudafed behind the counter here in Iowa, too. Our esteemed governor's quote is, "I don't understand how ANYONE could be against this minor inconvenience in order to stem the tide of meth production in Iowa."

    Would it have prevented the Federal building in Oklahoma city from being blown up if fertilizer and kerosene were similarly restricted?

  31. January 27, 200_

    Get in Line for _______

    Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Jim Talent (R-Mo.) yesterday introduced a bill, dubbed the Combat _______ Act, that would allow sales of _______ only in _______, require that they be kept behind the _______'s counter, force buyers to present ID and sign a registry, and limit purchases to _______ a month.

  32. Some of you expressed doubts about how they are going to track everything.

    The technology is already there, it's just a matter of execution. The powers that be are already pushing for national ID cards (that clearly state on them "this is not a national ID card"). It's pretty simple. Anytime we buy anything, we would have to scan in our cards, and all the info would be kept in a national database. This database will automatically scan for suspicious spending habits, and notify the proper authorities electronically. The government can also sell the data to private companies, which could mean millions if not billions of dollars. The program would be self-funded, with money to spare. Everyone wins.

  33. Re: Sudafed being regulated. This is getting absurd. What is next? Next time you need a pain medication, the pharmacist gets to decide if you get Asprin, Advil, or Tylonol?

    We already have national id cards: your drivers liscense. It is virutally a crime to leave your house without it. If you go shopping and pay with anything other than cash (ex. check, credit card, debit card): show id. If you deposit a check, even a payroll check into your bank account: show id. If you go to a grocery store and don't have their card to keep track of all you spending: show id. This is getting absurd. It must stop somewhere, but where?

  34. Jim Walsh --> Sorry to hear about the ND law. I didn't catch that one. i try to pay attention to what is going on up there since I have a grandma up there and visit from time to time. I also went to UND + still head up there every now for alumni events.

    IIRC, Utah already had some laws like this. But it was in response to another common drug used in cough medicine, dextrometherphan [sic]. I don't see it as doing much to combat the drug's spread. Just politicians desperate to do something about a problem. It's just a band aid that won't go away until society accepts that drug use happens and lets folks deal with the mess through treatment rather than stickin' folks in jail. And jeeze, you might actually eleminate the environmental mess if folks could produce it legally cuz you'd get a few upright business men involved.

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