Speed Adjustment

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The New York Times reports that restrictions on the retail sale of pseudoephedrine, a methamphetamine precursor found in cold and allergy medications, have reduced local production of meth in states such as Iowa. But "the drop in home-cooked methamphetamine has been met by a new flood of crystal methamphetamine coming largely from Mexico," with the result that consumption is no lower than it was before. "You can't legislate away demand," South Dakota's secretary of human services tells the Times. Well, nobody saw this coming…except for anyone who gave the policy a moment's thought.

While the hazards associated with home labs have been reduced, the Times reports, overdoses are on the rise because the Mexican meth is a lot purer than the domestic stuff local speed freaks were used to. It's also more expensive than homemade meth, leading to an increase in burglaries. Iowa's drug policy director suggests the risk of violence has risen because users who no longer make their own now must deal with armed traffickers. Although it's hard to see a net improvement--especially given the burden imposed on cold and allergy sufferers--this policy of reverse protectionism is likely to go national soon.

NEXT: Beyond DHS

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  1. So by typical WoD standards we are winning right?

  2. To be fair, the byproducts of home meth production do tend to create superfund grade toxic dumps so this measure could be said to reduce the harm caused by meth. Much as I abhore the war on drugs(tm) I'm not too fond of toxic metals in the water table either. The question is if the trade-offs are worth it or if the problem could be better addressed in another manner.
    Then again, it's not like hard reduction ever was a goal of the war on drugs(tm).

  3. Do meth addicts ever have sinus problems?

  4. Eryk-

    There would be fewer pollution problems if this were done by responsible, experienced chemists.

    Hmm, how to move production away from amateurs and criminals, and put it in the hands of trained professionals?

    Hmm....

  5. Eryk:

    The amount of "hazardous wastes" from an average Beavis-and-Butthead lab is relatively small. For "Nazi method" labs, such as the ones that are found in the Dakotas, it's even smaller.

    It's the large industrial-sized labs in Mexico where you'll find the potential Superfund sites. The ones, incidentally, that have benefited from the crackdown on the small producers.

  6. I predicted this in comments various places and in a recent post regarding Wisconsin legislation. The DEA had stated prior to the precursor crackdown that 80% of the crank was already coming from large-scale operations. Last time we had a "meth epidemic" the precursor was an industrial chemical called P2P (the killing at the start of the movie Witness was over the stuff). P2P was easier than ephedrine to take off the market. Due to a racemic detail of the molecule, meth made from P2P was less powerful than meth made from ephedrine. That's progress for you.

  7. triticale:

    You seem to know a little too much about meth production. Methinks it might be time for the feds to tap your phone and monitor your search engine records...y'know, in the interest of national security, "the children", etc...

  8. This reminds me, tangentially, that the Times was trying to report with a straight face yesterday American concern about rising crime in Bolivia due to their new president's desire to stop cracking down on coca production.

  9. Checking the metrics:
    Crime up = more burrocrat $$ -check
    Increase in ODs = more $$ -check
    Higher addiction rate = more $$ -check
    More interstate smuggling = more $$ -check

    Seems about right.

  10. "The state asks how the decrease in meth labs has reduced danger to citizens, and it has, as far as potential explosions. But we've had a lot of burglaries where the occupants are home at the time, and that's probably more of a risk. So it's kind of evening out."

    Jebeezelbub! You can't make this shit up! This deserves an Academy Award for most creative use of statistical crap.

  11. Who cares if meth use is up or down? Having to show I.D. to buy a box of Sudafed violates our rights. End of story.

  12. Fuck! What does the government do that doesn't violate our rights? (very little)

  13. Rhywun-

    If the President of Bolivia doesn't stop all this crazy talk about ending the war on cocaine, the drug lords and their employees in the US government will have no choice but to kill him.

  14. And the mexican army protects shipments coming across the border for the drug cartels.

    Going so far as to actually cross into the US.

    Hostile foreign troops on US soil? Yep.

    Good thing the duuhbyaist regime has cancelled the constitution in order to protect US.

    Maybe duuhbya should take away the rights of the drug cartels and mexican army to operate in US territory?

    I guess that the cartels classify as multinational corporate citizens and are therefore above the law of any one nation? Just like halliburton, exxonmob, and the rest of bushco inc.!!

    Well cancel that idea, and the mexican army is acting as a contractor. If US authorities touch 'em it would damage the rights of multinational corporate citizens everywhere.

    Better that individual citizen's rights are cancelled than hurt any corporate citizens.

  15. Exactamundo. And now these silly meth registries.

  16. Jennifer-

    South American governments would make more from taxing coca, but the officials themselves would receive fewer bribes without a lucrative black market. And if they tried to put that black market out of business, they'd probably be killed.

  17. Jen- They are getting both the money from the cocaine and the US government. They would not profit more if it were legal they would profit less because the fact that it is illegal is what makes it so profitable to begin with. Well that and the bribes and US money that goes who knows where in the end. Consider it burning the crack pipe at both ends with no middle (end) ever being reached. So they smoke and smoke and smoke it up from both ends.

    Whoever didn't think the mexicans would start making and smuggling in even more meth to fill the demand is the one who needs to get off the drugs because their perception of reality is very fucked up. Especially when the gov itself admitted %80 was already coming from Mexico.

    So long as there is big money in drugs there will always be a supplier. So long as there is big money in taxes there will always be lying, cheating politicians. Now that they are both in bed together whats the odds of them giving up on either?

    Ask you doctor if its right for you!

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