Drug Policy

He Should Have Known He Needed a Prescription for an OTC Drug

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When Gary Schinagel's niece told him she had seen his name in a local newspaper story about a drug investigation, he decided to go down to the sheriff's office and straighten out what was obviously a misunderstanding. Instead Schinagel, a 47-year-old senior investment associate at Principal Financial Group in Mason City, Iowa, was arrested for violating a 2005 state law that aims to curtail methamphetamine production by limiting the amount of pseudoephedrine, a meth precursor, an individual may purchase. Buyers of cold and allergy remedies containing the chemical have to present ID and sign a log (a requirement that has since been imposed throughout the country by federal law), which allows police to track who is buying how much. Schinagel, who has suffered from chronic nasal congestion since childhood, was not using the pseudoephedrine to cook meth, and he says he's not even sure which rule he broke: the one against buying more than 3.6 grams (120 Sudafed tablets) in a 24-hour period or the one against buying more than 7.5 grams of pseudoephedrine (250 tablets) in a month. The latter offense is a "serious misdemeanor" that can get you up to a year in jail and a $1,500 fine.

The law does allow someone in Schinagel's medical situation to exceed the pseudoephedrine limits, but only with a prescription. "It is a sinking feeling to be placed under arrest," Schinagel, who is free on bail, told the Mason City Globe Gazette. "I've tried all my life to avoid situations like I find myself in now. And I still don't know which line I crossed."  

I bemoaned the Sudafed crackdown in a 2005 column.

[via The Drug War Chronicle]

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  1. Bitch better stock up on mackerel. That’s what you get when you violate the laws of our country. Dirty lawbreaker.

  2. Even if he’s telling the truth, having chronic nasal congestion makes him an untermensch so he should be placed on a train and taken to the appropriate cleansing facil-, I mean prison.

  3. “serious misdemeanor”

    Holy shit! They actually wrote that phrase into the law. We are a nation of illiterates.

  4. Mason City, Iowa,

    I thought this crazy shit happened other places.

  5. Well at least meth production is way down due to this law.

    Right?

  6. It is a sinking feeling to be placed under arrest

    You got that right, buddy.

    The best part is that even if he gets cleared (which he undoubtedly will), he’s got a “drug arrest” on his record. But hey, it was For The Children, so fuck him.

  7. Hey now, he had to have been buying “the dope” somewhere, so I’d say there’s a drugstore, or “dealer” that needs to suffer a no-knock, dog-killin’, SWaT raid soon.

  8. OT:

    Is anyone else distracted to paralysis by Jeff Flake’s ad for the Pork Parade? I heart Flake and all, but seriously? Pork Parade?

  9. Mason City, Iowa

    I tried, but I couldn’t turn Fiery Furnaces lyrics into anything funny.

  10. Fuckin’ doper.

  11. Pain | October 3, 2008, 3:19pm | #
    Well at least meth production is way down due to this law.

    Right?

    Not exactly. Domestic production of low quality meth is down. Imports of high quality Mexican “superlab” meth is up.

  12. Wait, it’s a drug charge AND HE GOT FREE ON BAIL?!? Now he’s just gonna drug up his neighborhood again. It’s easier if we just shoot him.

  13. Bitch better stock up on mackerel.

    The Extispicator simultaneously wins the thread and gets first post. Nicely done.

    P.S. Do we have our own cable news network yet?

  14. What a joke. Obviously this wasn’t the intent of the law and everybody involved probably knows that this isn’t the guy who the law was aimed at. So why prosecute? Because the law’s the law. Argh.

  15. Porkchop Sandwiches!

    God Damn that smells good!

  16. Not exactly. Domestic production of low quality meth is down. Imports of high quality Mexican “superlab” meth is up.

    Hmmm I guess I forgot my /sarcasm tags.

    But seriously, within the first 5 minutes of hearing about this law, and how it worked, I thought of a way around it. Anyone who knows how to make meth (and not blow themselves up) can figure probably it out too.

  17. What a joke. Obviously this wasn’t the intent of the law and everybody involved probably knows that this isn’t the guy who the law was aimed at. So why prosecute? Because the law’s the law. Argh.

    Because the D.A. is afraid he’ll be portrayed as “soft on drugs” next election. The morality of the case is not even considered. Public servant, my ass.

  18. Imports of high quality Mexican “superlab” meth is up.

    Those Mexicans are even trying to steal honest, small town, American meth-cookin’ jobs. NAFTA SUPERHIGHWAY of METH!

  19. Yup, this law has been a great favor to the violent Mexican drug gangs. It reduced their less violent home-brew competition.

    We the people lose, the Mexican drug gangs win. Thanks feds!

    /one finger salute to the feds

  20. I thought everyone knew that ‘public servant’ contained a now-persistent typo.
    Substitute ‘p’ for the ‘v’ and you’ve got it.

    no hugs for thugs,
    Shirley Knott

  21. “Because the D.A. is afraid he’ll be portrayed as “soft on drugs” next election.”

    Also whenever you accidentally net an elderly upper middle class white dude, you do something so people will know you’re not racist. Then you can go back to persecuting poor anglo kids & minorities 24/7.

  22. See, nobody who is innocent has any reason to oppose laws like these.

  23. NAFTA SUPERHIGHWAY of METH!

    How can this not have summoned LoneRetard? You even yelled it.

  24. How can this not have summoned LoneRetard? You even yelled it.

    I’m doing what I can here. Where the War on Drugs meets the War on Immigrants, only hilarity can ensue. …Hang on, is hilarity perhaps not the right word?

  25. So…

    Did Biden vote in favor of the federal law mandating that you have to sign a form to by Sudafed?

  26. is hilarity perhaps not the right word?

    If it is the kind of hilarity expressed by insane, maniacal laughter, then possibly.

    He must be on vacation in Mexico. That’s why he’s not here.

  27. LW’s working his shift in the toll booth. Ya’ll’s leave him alone.

    “Put a quarter in your ass because you played yourself.”

  28. Heres a case for jury nullification. Where’s the mens rea in this case?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mens_rea

  29. Sorry No Name Guy but mens rea is DEAD. Laws are now written to specifically get around that little headache to the career statistics of prosecutors. It’s called “strict liability” I believe and intent is irrelevant. How else could they charge OBJECTS with crimes? Did your car INTEND to be involved with a drug transaction?! LOL.

  30. Yet one more reason for me to think America is getting out of “that awkward stage” and it’s getting to be “That time.”

  31. KTC2

    Yeah, that’s why I said jury nullification. The lack of mens rea is so much bullshit.

    Yet another example of the overcriminalization of this country.

  32. Almost, Ms. Knott, but point taken.

  33. I have a mild chronic pain problem that can’t be diagnosed cause it’s just, you know, pain – in my neck and shoulders. Fibromyalgia, whatever – it hurts, sometimes badly, sometimes not so much.

    My regular doctor – who became my doctor when he quite literally saved my life on the operating table (i was on it, not him) is a real anti-pain pill nut. I still love him, but it bugs me. So I go to my old family doctor who is near retirement, and he continues to prescribe one of the milder pain meds for me. Never makes me come in to see him, knows I’m not an addict, yada yada.

    I mentioned the pain problem to my OB/GYN one time, and when I told her how often I sometimes take the pain meds, she was concerned. Asked me who was prescribing them. I told her “my old family doctor” – no name.

    But once i left her office, I got worried. Called her nurse, told her that I expected her to respect patient confidentiality, did not want her trying to figure out who my old family doctor was, or…you know. The nurse called me back to tell me that the OB/GYN understood my concern, knew what i was talking about, and did not intend to do anything with the information.

    It’s fucking pathetic that I had to worry about that. My 73 year old mother, who has a rather open-ended prescription to some scheduled drugs herself, still thinks it’s okay to criminalize this stuff because some people need to be protected from themselves. And of course it’s okay for the government to decide how much is too much. It could never happen to her, of course. She’s a sweet little old lady and no one would ever bring her up on charges…

  34. “I’ve tried all my life to avoid situations like I find myself in now. And I still don’t know which line I crossed.”

    Don’t worry, we’re all criminals now. At some point each and every one of us will be at the wrong place at the wrong time, or just ‘lucky’, and become another statistic on the police state’s files.

  35. Oh, fuck! I just realized I’ve probably committed this same “offense”. Oh God, the SWAT team’s coming, they’re coming, they’re coming…

  36. Drug laws are to make the drug trade profitable.

  37. When I bought a single OTC cold remedy at Rite Aid, I was informed by the salesgirl at the register I had to give her my drivers license and sign a logbook.

    So why is it we aren’t hearing the clerk that sold him the drugs isn’t in trouble, too????

    This “law” is a travesty.

  38. Where’s the mens rea in this case?

    Same place the men’s rights went.

  39. I feel safer already knowing that dangerous nasal medication criminals like this are making little ones out of big ones at the State Pen.

  40. Stubby,
    I know how you feel – I have a serious leg wound (Venous stais ulcer), and I’m on fairly erious doses of Vicodan – and I worry when I go for a refill, even though I usually make a 15 day supply go 30, and have reduced from the highest dosage to a lower

    sign

  41. National bank
    Political cronyism
    Income Tax (the first one)
    Sherman Anti-trust Act
    Child labor laws
    Federal Resrve Act
    New Deal
    NLRA & B
    Taft-Hartley
    Tariffs, protectionism, anti-immigration
    Social Security Act
    Worker’s Comp act
    Square Deal
    Fair Deal
    The ah shit, just give ’em the money deal (while taking away their freedom)
    Steel, oil and other industry price ceilings–and floors
    State broadcasting dept.
    Medicare–Medicaid
    Government insurance
    Explicit & narrower wage & price restrictions
    Campaign finance reform
    OTC drug sales restrictions
    CRA & Freddie
    $840 billion nationalization of Wall St.

    Much left out; much more to come. Snowball & momentum of falling objects effect. Or, if you like, the effect of the law of critical mass.

    Over the next 1-4 years, you won’t believe what’s going to happen–even as you see it happening.

    What’s more, most Americans–including those who advocate capitalism but, hey, we can’t have it *completely* unregulated *AND* those who think they can build a polito-economic sys on an amoral foundation (i.e., sans an objective ethics, e.g., Libertarians)–will deserve it. Political freedom is impossible w/o economic freedom; and both are impossible without an ethical base.

    Enjoy.

    As for me, I’m going to Monaco. See ya, wouldn’t wanna, etc.

  42. We are exporting good meth production jobs to Mexico with laws like this.

  43. The Mexicans are just cooking the meth that Americans refuse to do.

    racists!

  44. Twenty years ago I used suffer from allergies pretty bad. I used to walk around with a pack of pseudophedrine in my shirt pocket all the time in case of an attack. I suppose today it would get me arrested.

  45. Since an amendment was required to ban production and distribution of alcohol, by what authority are other drugs banned?

  46. Since an amendment was required to ban production and distribution of alcohol, by what authority are other drugs banned?

    That was the old Constitution, the one the Founding Fathers wrote.

    But they owned slaves, so now we have the New Model Living Constitution, where for instance you do have an individual right to keep and bear arms but cities can pass “reasonable” laws banning them. And you are a drug dealer if you have more than X grams, even if you never sell any. And your car and your house and your cash can be defendants in a criminal case, but they have no rights because they aren’t people. And…

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