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.