When Drug Users Learn to Point and Click, We'll Really Have a Problem

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Since July, Virginia law has prohibited retailers from selling more than two packages of cold medicine to each customer. Presently, Fairfax County is not full of eyebrow-plucking meth addicts. Connection? The police seem to think so:

Enforcement of the ephedrine and pseudoephedrine law is a preventative measure, Fairfax County Police spokesman Rich Henry says.

"Right now in Fairfax County, we don't have a major problem with methamphetamine. And we're trying to make sure that stays that way," Henry says.

Henry attributes the low number of methamphetamine-related arrests in the county to police enforcement of the law.

A recent sting of 21 stores uncovered six stores that were not complying with the law, Henry says.

Hey, here's a wild idea for a reporter covering Fairfax's miraculous lack of meth mouth: Ask what things were like before police were raiding drugstores. It seems unlikely that the newly chastened EZ Stop n' Go Food Mart stands between the County and its supposed thirst for meth. In any case, armed anti-Sudafed warriors seem to be unfamiliar with that consumer paradise we call the Internet.

Jacob Sullum weighed in on the Sudafed situation last November.

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  1. Homer: Ah, not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm!
    Lisa: That’s specious reasoning, Dad.
    Homer: Thank you, honey.
    Lisa: By your logic, I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away!
    Homer: Uh-huh, and how does it work?
    Lisa: It doesn’t work.
    Homer: Uh-huh.
    Lisa: It’s just a stupid rock.
    Homer: Uh-huh.
    Lisa: But I don’t see any tigers around here, do you?
    Homer: (Looks around) Lisa, I’d like to buy your rock.

  2. Come to think of it, it’s pretty much impossible to prove that any law enforcement measure works since with today’s technology we cannot visit the alternate universe where the measure was never put into place and compare crime stats.

  3. Even when that technology is discovered, Dan, we’ll never find an alternate universe where your counterpart is someone worth taking seriously.

  4. A recent sting of 21 stores uncovered six stores that were not complying with the law, Henry says

    So the owners and staffs of 15 stores got their balls broken for nothing? Efficient.

  5. How much Sudafed does it actually take to make meth, anyway?

  6. Fairfax county, I believe, was where an optometrist named Culosi was shot dead “accidentally” by some dumbshit SWAT officer who shouldn’t have had his weapon drawn. Culosi was a suspected bookie.

    Two strikes, Virginia. One more and you’re going on my “stay the hell away” list.

  7. Is it just a coincidence, or are the server squirrels behaving much better now? If so, kudos to whoever neutered the damn things.

    …Aaand now it won’t let me post this because I just posted something. Smooth. Trying again 2min. later.

  8. Foster’s Lager: $2.50

    Potato chips: 99 cents

    Jennifer vs. Dan T: Priceless

  9. Ahh god bless the old dominion, and our lack of monogamous fag meth smokers.

  10. My son’s stepfather is a Fairfax County cop. Next time I talk to him I’ll have to ask him what the men in blue think about this.

  11. I’m pretty sure what we’re talking about here is misinformation from DEA foisted onto clueless newspapers across the nation because I think I recall some mention here lately indicating that the struggling afternoon rag was thereby snookered.
    I think the headline was along the lines of, “Meth enforcement shows results here.”
    I didn’t bother to check it, because, what else is new?
    And I saw no follow-up nor confirmation in other outlets here in Sinincincinnati.

  12. I leaving the office now to head home to Fairfax County. I think I’d better stop off at the CVS here in DC and pick up three or so packs of cold medicine.

  13. Lord Duppy: Strike 3=the gay marriage amendment

  14. Is there any chance Dan T. will be banned from the site just for being so goddamned trite, stupid, and useless? Couldn’t we just replace him with a trollbot?

  15. Guys, you’re embarrasing me here, just ignore him.

  16. What are the stats on people consuming meth made in their own county vs nearby counties? I mean, if we’re going to say that the law has created a low-meth addict population in the county, we would also have to assert that meth from nearby counties can not make its way in. Otherwise, the law would be meaningless. The meth heads of Fairfax could just buy stuff made a few miles away, instead of their neighbor’s homebrew.
    Unless…well this is just a shot in the dark….unless nanny-stating people’s cold medicine has nothing to do with why there aren’t a lot of meth addicts in Fairfax.

    And can anyone who knows anything about chemistry answer this: To make meth, how much of this stuff do you really need? I have to present an ID and write down all my personal info every time I get congested here in Phoenix, just to buy ONE box of Sudafed. I’m under the impression you’d need a hell of a lot more than that to make meth in the quantities a dealer would desire. Is the meth industry really fed by people buying a couple boxes of cold remedy, or is it more like people who are buying cases of this stuff at a time?

    And finally, the obligatory question: Has the government ever learned ANYTHING from the drug war? There seems an almost religious imperitive to intentionally make the same mistakes over and over and over and over. Is there ANYONE who actually says to themselves “Hey, how about we make this stuff illegal, then nobody will do it anymore”? Decades of this policy, and I still could have my hands on weed, coke, xanax, percoset, or whatever in 15 minutes if I wanted to. I must be a hard-core junkie to have connections like that. And here I thought I just liked to have a glass of wine with dinner….

  17. Read the original blog post again, it’s kind of funny. The police say that the new law limiting the sale of certain drugs is a preventative measure.

    Kerry Howley then writes, “Ask what things were like before police were raiding drugstores.”

    I suppose if he met someone who drank a glass of wine each night as a preventative measure against having a heart attack, Kerry would ask “Well, how many heart attacks did you have before you starting drinking wine?”

  18. I’ve griped about this before, but several months ago I was in Illinois and had to pick up some cold medicine. I can’t tell you how incredibly fucking stupid it is to get a “voucher” where you usually find the medicine, and then stand in fucking line at the pharmacy counter instead of the regular cash registers (since you only have one point to purchase instead of multiple, there’s a huge bottle-neck).

    This is hugely inconvenient for both the customers and the merchants. And yet we do this stupid shit. For the drug war.

    Fucking bizarro-world we live in here.

  19. Being a macho kind of guy, I just suffer thru a cold rather than take OTC medicine. That said I am still outraged that our moronic elected officials will inconvenience so many people for what is, in all probability, a totally useless measure to reduce consumption of meth.

  20. From what I remember reading when I was visiting Oregon (where the meth madness is a huge story), it takes a shitload of cold medicine to make a small batch of meth.

    The bigger players in the meth trade don’t go around to drug stores buying individual Sudafed boxes. They purchase cold medicines in bulk from foreign suppliers. A much more cost- and time-efficient way of doing it, regardless of restrictions.

    I guess the corner drug store thing would be an issue if you had methheads making their own personal supplies, but those folks typically come off as a bunch of fuckups who would be likely to blow themselves up in the production process.

  21. If you take Zicam you don’t need OTC cold remedies, it cures the common cold. Really.

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