Drug Policy

Meth Microbrewers Make Iron Eyes Cody Cry


The New York Times reports that meth lab seizures, which fell by 58 percent between 2003 and 2006 as restrictions on retail sales of pseudoepehdrine shifted production from local mom-and-pop labs to big Mexican manufacturers, rose by 15 percent between 2007 and 2008 as the "shake and bake" method caught on. The new, less complicated process, which the Associated Press noted last August, involves a soda bottle, common household chemicals, and allergy pills purchased by "smurfers" who make the rounds of drugstores, buying small quantities so as not to attract police attention. It does not require a lot of pseudoephedrine, and it can be accomplished on your couch or in your car. Police in Alabama, Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana, and Tennessee report that they frequently find remains of meth brewing kits on roadsides.

The restrictions on pseudoephedrine, which make it such a pain in the ass to get allergy relief and occasionally result in raids on innocent grandmothers, seem to have driven meth production in two directions: toward large-scale manufacturing by Mexican traffickers and toward microbatches cooked up by meth users and their friends. It's debatable whether this is an improvement, especially given the toxic litter, the special hazards of close-in cooking, and the lack of evidence that the limits on pseudoephedrine have had any impact on meth consumption (which has been falling since the late 1990s). But legislators who were sure they could stamp out meth use by putting allergy pills behind the counter, limiting sales, and making buyers sign a registry are eager to try more onerous restrictions, such as making pseudoephedrine available only by prescription.

I noted the pseudoephedrine crackdown's effectiveness at fostering innovation in meth manufacturing in the January issue of Reason. More on the subject here.

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  1. It will be very interesting to watch the inevitable black market in medical services develop alongside (or out of?) the existing black market in prescription drugs. Lots of opportunity out there.

  2. We need more restrictions on soda bottles and common household chemicals. We’re one more restriction from a meth-free society!

  3. If memory serves, Mark Souder has been behind a lot of drug war legislation.

    Yep (from Wikipedia): “He authored and championed the Aid Elimination Penalty (also known as the Drug-Free Student Loan amendment), enacted in 1998 as part of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.” “In December 2006, the President signed into law the ONDCP Reauthorization Act, which Souder had authored and introduced. The law reauthorizes the office of “the Drug Czar” for five years.”

    Not just drugs:”Souder is a staunch advocate of a federal prohibition of online poker.”

    Just a few more laws, Marky, and we’ll finally have a perfect society!

    1. “I see a light at the end of the tunnel”

      1. “Someone please tell me it’s not a train.”

  4. But legislators who were sure they could stamp out meth use by putting allergy pills behind the counter, limiting sales, and making buyers sign a registry are eager to try more onerous restrictions, such as making pseudoephedrine available only by prescription.

    If we only do more of what has demonstrably failed, we can win the War on Drugs!

    * Actually it’s a war on liberty and the lady is getting her ass kicked. Drugs are unperturbed.

  5. Shockingly meth consumption is down. Just like crack consumption. These things have a way of working themselves out. If a drug really is dangerous people figure that out and stop using it on their own. And if they would just sell speed over the counter like they did back in the 50s, only real degenerates who deserve whatever happens to them would use meth.

  6. They should make sudafed a prescription. It does not need to be over the counter, you can get sudafed pe over the counter, if that is not good enougth go to a doctor.

    1. You do realize that this is a libertarian board where most think you should be able to buy heroin over the counter?

      1. No one would think that, probably pot should be legal but heroin?

        1. I favor over-the-counter heroin sales.

        2. Legalize heroin. I don’t think people should be encouraged to take it, but frankly, it would either become self-moderated or it would become Darwinism in action.

        3. Yes, heroin should be legal.

        4. Yes. For many reasons, not the least of which it would be safer than many other pain medications on the market, narcotic or non-narcotic.

        5. Age limits?

          Hell, if you can see over the counter and have the cash you should be able to buy Heroin,cocaine PCP, meth, steroids, morning-after pills, laetrile,monkey glands, whatever. I don’t think too many vendors will actually sell to 6 year olds though.

          That was the way it was in the glorious liberty of the Old America before the Progressives took over*.
          Well they didn’t have laetrile, PCP, and a lot of other stuff but H, coke, monkey glands were good to go.

          *Note to David Boaz: I do not wish the return of the Chinese Exclusionary Act. It was BAAAD!

      2. …where most think [adults] should be able to buy heroin over the counter?

        Clarification added to ward off potential “but… whazabout SIX YEAR OLDS!” idiocy.

        1. Not me buddy, I happen to know that a smacked out six year old is a well behaved six year old.

          1. True dat. Junior ain’t tearing the pace up if he’s doing the junkie nod.

            1. And chores, do you know how much household work a kid will do for some stamp bags, especially if he’s detoxing?

              1. Well, to be fair, I always liked getting Robitussin as a kid. (This was back in the day when it had codeine).

          2. Glyco-heroin: it’s not just for coughing anymore!

    2. I don’t suppose you’re a doctor, are you Fred? Those co-pays are miiiiiighty tempting…

    3. They should make sudafed a prescription.

      Horseshit Fred.

      So, you propose that every sniffle should merit running to a doctor, thereby decreasing time for more serious cases and increasing the cost of seeing the doctor, not to mention the cost of a very inexpensive and effective drug? When most cold symptoms are relieved by:

      1) Rest and fluids.

      2) Pseudoephedrine (Zicam works well too, but like Tamiflu, must be administered at the onset of S/S to be effective)

      3) The body’s immune system, as AB’s don’t WORK on virii. (Can relieve S/S but that’s how super bugs develop).

      4) Proper, consistent handwashing and hygiene.

      Why do you hate the sick and poor people Fred?

      1. Some people don’t understand that if you don’t have insurance you actually have to pay the doctor with cash (much better for everyone in my opinion). And not to mention can’t afford to take a day off of work. When prescription meds go over the counter the working poor win, you don’t need to take time off or go see a doctor for minor ailments such as allergies or heartburn.

        1. +1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000+

      2. Zicam does not work, and has never been shown to work.

        Also, the nasal spray could kill your sense of smell permanently.

        Just thought you should know

  7. they are delusional if they think that controlling or even erradicating ephedrine/pseudoephedrine pills will stop meth manufacturing. its so easy to extract from plant sources that no matter what they do to the pharmaceutical industry there will always be nature to provide the precursors for illicit meth production. prohibition always fails.

    1. Then prohibit the plants, the marijuana plant is prohibited.

      1. D+

        The (+) is for a semi-original troll name that’s capitalized.

      2. the marijuana plant is prohibited

        I know, and it’s so hard to find too.

      3. there are so many plants that either produce ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, cathine, cathinone, PPA, or one of the many other precursors that could be used. it would never fly, it would never work even if they could pass it. prohibition always fails. people will make, grow, buy, sell, and ingest whatever they want, whether or not the FDA and DEA tell us we can’t.

      4. they can try and prohibit the plants but there are thousands of plants containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, PPA, cathine, cathinone, and other chemicals that can be used as precursors. it would never work even if they could pass such restrictions.

  8. I have a suspicion that some illegal drug chemists will at some point come up with a drug more powerful than anything yet on the market, made with more common chemicals than even pseudoephedrine– say, baking soda and sugar.

    The whole history of drug prohibition rewards innovation in creation and supply of illegal drugs, as I see it.

    1. I’m waiting for some genetic engineer to GM dandelions so the flowers contain cannabinoids.

      1. Kudzu cross-breed.

        1. When I lived in Georgia we burned some Kudzu in our chiminea. Damn if it didn’t stink like pot.

        2. When I lived in Georgia we burned some Kudzu in our chiminea. Damn if it didn’t stink like pot.

        3. When I lived in Georgia we burned some Kudzu in our chiminea. Damn if it didn’t stink like pot.

          1. WTF? John = sage?

          2. John = sage?

            1. When I lived in Georgia we, uh… I, uh.. like…

              Whoa, Man.

      2. Wouldn’t work, J sub. After they made MDMA illegal, Congress passed a law that essentially makes any analogues of a drug illegal as well. There are several analogues of MDMA that can be made from essential oils that have never been specifically outlawed, but would be illegal to manufacture, since they work essentially the same way.

        1. Just engineer it, then spread the seeds everywhere.

        2. The point wouldn’t be to end-run around legality; it would be to create an unkillable plant that can easily be used to get high. As the proud owner of a dandelion field where my front lawn used to be, I support this plan.

          1. it would be to create an unkillable plant that can easily be used to get high.

            Kinda like pot?

        3. Yes, that was worse then when Reagan banned the Quaalude. IMHO.

    2. Yes and no. I often wonder if maybe we wouldn’t have fantastic safe drugs if big pharma were allowed to put its energies towards recreational drugs. If drugs were legal, someone like Pfizer could drop a few hundred millions to develop some fabulous new and safe recreational drug. But because drugs are only supposed to be therapeutic and never recreational (because no one can ever be happy or be allowed to escape their miserable lives for even a few hours) we end up with the equivalent of high end home science experiments.

      1. because no one can ever be happy or be allowed to escape their miserable lives for even a few hours


        Unless of course it is alcohol.


        I guess that is why “euphoria” is listed as a side effect on prescription pain drugs, as if happiness is wrong.

    3. there are many legal stimulants that get around the analog act and are way better and cheaper than meth. they can ban them, but there are an infinite amount of other stimulants that would remain legal. even many plants contain legal stimulants that are legal. so many people are ordering legal stimulants from custom synthesis manufacturers in China, India, and South Korea. the prohibitionists will never win. freedom will prevail.

      1. Sorry, but nothing compares to a half gram shot (about 50 IU) of good old fashioned bathtub (phenyl-2-propanone) meth.

        Run that!

        1. I don’t know, MDPV and some of the lefetamine analogs are pretty fucking good.

  9. Just close all roads. Problem solved.

  10. I highly recommend the book No Speed Limit by Frank Owen for more on this subject. The DEA has gone about fighting methamphetamine through restrictions on precursor chemicals since the 1980’s.

    Meth used to be a highly specialized drug provincial to biker gangs that took a full-on laboratory to make. The DEA’s “crackdowns” on precursors led to the explosion of meth use via the ephedrine method being perfected as a response to DEA restrictions in the first place. The DEA has driven the mass-market explosion of meth…talk about unintended consequences.

    Fact is, you can get ephedrine from ephedra shrubs, which like dope are weeds that grow all over the northern hemisphere. By the time Dayquil is a felony there will be a whole illicit cottage industry in ephedra extracts and its pharmacological derivatives; which is a whole product family, not just meth. Ritalin is a good example.

  11. Meth…at least it’s not math.

    1. No?

      1. Am I the only one who thinks that Skylar is a vile fucking whore? You’d think she’d be happy that her husband wants to provide for her after he’s dead, but no, she has to go throw a tantrum and whore it up. What a fucking skank.

        1. And a hypocritical skank, because the guy she is sleeping with is a crook.

          1. Thanks, mister spoiler guys. I guess I don’t have to Netflix season three now.

            1. Darth Vader is Luke’s father.

          2. I’m hoping that the cartel ends up killing him.

            1. Wow, dickholes, I’ve only seen season one. I guess that’s one show going on the trashheap.

              1. Oh thank you jesus. This is the return of the H&R I know and love.

                1. You might enjoy this, db.

                  1. Thank you!

              2. Just take some pills and forget about it, you pillpopping fuckknuckle.

                1. That was to Epi. db is a lesser fuckknuckle by far.

              3. It’s about the journey, not the destination man. It’s a good show, worth watching for sure.

                1. Yeah, I guess. I’ll probably continue with it. (that was to Rhywun).

                  Fuck you, you virulent herpes-infested pestilence, and go shove your spoilers up NutraSweet’s ass and then felch them out (that was to Warty).

                  1. Soy Rhayader, no soy Rhywun. ‘Sall good though.


          3. And a hypocritical skank, because the guy she is sleeping with is a crook.

            Isn’t that the whole point the show is trying to make? A guy selling drugs to feed his family and a guy cooking the books to feed his family are the same. They would do whatever they have to in order to avoid watching their families suffer/go broke/go hungry.

            1. I get the feeling that Benake, or whatever his name is, isn’t really cooking the books to feed his family. Just like Walt isn’t simply cooking meth to provide for his family, but also because he likes being a criminal.

              1. Yeah, they definitely play with the notion of crime itself being an exotic and addictive drug.

                1. The home depot car park scene, with the TV on the Radio track, from Season 2 showed a bit of intoxication that Walt was deriving from his criminal “badass” status.

        2. Guess I brought this on myself — only 4 episodes into season 3.

        3. Skylar=bitch

          Walt should take the money and Jr. and get the hell out of dodge.

          1. I have to admit that I hated his wife from the first episode. Glad to see it wasn’t misplaced.

            1. Me too. The whole staged intervention bullshit sent me right off on a tangent.

          2. Unfortunately, the makers of the show are definitely pro-WoD, so there’s no way Walt is going to win out in the end.

            1. Are they? I seem to remember an interview where they were saying how silly it was to try to stop these things. But, I might be misremembering.

              1. Perhaps, but in some of the DVD interviews they talk about how terrible meth is (admittedly, it is a shitty drug) and how grateful they are to have the cooperation of the DEA.

                I almost stopped watching right there, but I figured I’d give the show a chance.

                1. I just read three interviews with Vince Gilligan, and he seems to not want to mention the drug war. Basically the deepest he delves into it is what you just said.

                  1. Okay – I hope I’m wrong, and that Gilligan was saying what he did out of “political” necessity rather than true belief.

                    1. Or that my memory is poor – and it was someone other than Gilligan who sounded rather pro-WoD.

                  2. Yeah it seems pretty apolitical to me. It’s definitely not advocating for legalized meth, but I also don’t get much of a “save the children” feel from the show either.

              2. My take as well. Pretty sure I saw an interview where I got the impression that the producers feel like the WOD is an assault on adults free to make contracts with each other.

                1. In response to capitol l 3:18.

                  When he was explaining what he does to Skylar, didn’t he say something like I sell a product that people want to buy; no one is forcing us to buy or sell it?

                  1. Yeah I remember that as well Ska, good call.

          3. Maybe Jesse can do it now that he’s evil (but clean) Jesse.

        4. Am I the only one who thinks that Skylar is a vile fucking whore?


        5. It’s all good man, Skylar is “Breaking Bad” just like Walt did.

          1. I’m hoping now they can call even stevens and go about their business.

            Walt kisses her on the cheek as he leaves for the office in the morning, with a briefcase full of methylamine.

  12. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of reasons the drug war has failed. One is because criminals, such as they are, are one-step ahead of the enforcers. Ban X, they’ll find a way around the ban. Ban some ingredient of X and they’ll find substitutes or develop new drugs.

    1. China used to execute on the spot anyone found with Opium. Yet, the opium problem never went away. If you can’t stop it with summary executions, what chance do you have with a common law justice system? None.

      1. We’re getting to it John. We’re getting to it. Once the death panels are in place for the already infirm, we’ll clean up the more resistant cells of disobedients.

        Except for the ones that bribe well and give us hookers 😉

        Remember, you gotta have the “right people”…..

      2. But think of the Social Security debt that magically disappears (aka is denounced) with just a few tweaks to the common law system.

        Like most prescription drugs, the idea is to TREAT the illness, not CURE it. Curing it will put the curers out of business.

      3. If you can’t keep the drug trade out of prison, how can you expect to keep it out of a free and open society?

        1. This is a great question to ask pro WoD people. I have never heard a cogent, non-emotional response.

  13. You know, it’s bad enough that it’s tax day. But then you have to go use the word “microbrewers” in a post that has nothing to do with beer? What have I done to deserve this?

  14. The real cherry on top here is that pseudoephedrine is an incredibly useful drug if you have a sinus infection or similar illness. I mean, it makes the difference between feeling sick and feeling unbelievably shitty. I’ve gone out to the 24 hour pharmacy at 3 in the morning because I knew if I got some pseudo I’d be feeling 10x better within an hour.

    So, let’s fuck sick people, as hard as we can. Thanks, politicians!

    1. And that “PE” stuff may as well be “Placebo Effect” because that is about how effective that fucking shit is.

    2. Yeah, in the UK the branded Sudafed now has something else in it and it says on something on the packet like “clinical studies have not demonstrated any enhanced effectiveness for the active ingredient when compared with placebos.”

      Thankfully the pharmacists in Boots are kind enough to point out that their generic still has psuedoephedrine and is cheaper.

    3. I love that stuff. It works. Nothing else works as well.

  15. Advil Cold & Sinus is the only thing that kept me alive this past winter, and now i’m on a federal registry because of it. Fuck every piece of shit that thinks pseudo-criminalizing my bad sinuses was a good idea.

    1. I don’t use pseudo any more. Got me a giant vat of the good sheet.

    2. I’ll die a thousand deaths before I ever sign my name to any Federal registry.

      1. Oh really peasant? The joke’s on you then!

        We’ll be contacting you soon….

        1. I guess I should have said voluntarily sign…

  16. You guys should read the link that has the “recipe” for the coke bottle method. It has to be written by the fucking dea. It’s written more like a recipe on how to self immolate than to make speed.

  17. such as making pseudoephedrine available only by prescription.

    From oxycontin we know exactly how this is going to turn out. Lots of government lawyers, police, and prison guards will get the spoils.

  18. We’re big fans of killing dogs and breaking windows, capitol l. Think of all the ER docs, nurses, and burn units that will see increased demand for their services while teaching those scabby addicted maggots a lesson before we throw them in jail.

    Remember, it for “Teh Childrenz”.

  19. another thing that is hilarious is the fact that methamphetamine is prescribed for ADHD, ADD, narcolepsy, and other problems; as well as l-methamphetamine being WIDELY available OTC in the US as decongestant. many people can see through the bullshit lies.

    1. The levo form, like with amphetamine, doesn’t connect with the brain’s happy places. I think the new forms of “ice” are only dextro form hence 50% more potent, that is a direct consequence of the pseudo manufacturing method, which people probably wouldn’t use if the dea hadn’t cracked down on phenylacetone purchases.

      The U.S. Govt.: helping make drugs stronger.

      1. Yeah, the old-school biker gang P2P meth back in the day wasn’t nearly as potent as pseudo meth. Same thing with crack, which didn’t exist until the drug war spawned it.

        1. Also, by busting the ‘mom and pop’ labs in the u.s., the mexican gangs have totally taken over, and they know their shit.

          I saw one of those dea shows on tv and they busted a trucker in texas with huge crystals. You have to know some actual chemistry to get large pristine crystals. Most people in begining chemistry classes oversaturate and have a high temperature differential when they fall out their precip., getting giant shards is a long tedious process.

        2. well even though crack is relatively recent, freebase has been around much longer, which is even stronger than crack due to less impurities.

        3. Bullshit. I’m from Philly, I’ve been in a lab operated by the Pagans MC in Marcus Hook. Real P2P from a chem manufacturer in Pennsauken with ties to the Philly mob. Absolutely no Ether or B12.

          The uncut shit will knock you on your ass. But you have to mainline it. 1/2 gram shot. Every hair on your body feels like its standing, and blowing in a cool refreshing breeze, times 1000. Christ, my nipples get hard just thinking about it.

          1. The thing is you can make crap chemicals and get pretty crystals about 1 or 2cm long, which is why you may see some pretty pseudo meth but it’s crap. Also, Mr. Cha is correct about the synergy of the d- and l- forms. Usually though users report a ‘cleaner’ feeling from the dextro. If you have ever compared dextroamphetamine to adderall or racemic mixtures the high is much more euphoric with an easier come down.

            Disclosure: I am not some street chemist, after a lot of years bumping around I decided to go back to school. My major is chemistry, why I didn’t pick something easy that any retard could do and get a good paying job, like say criminal justice, is beyond me.

            1. I guess I should disclose I have a degree in pharmacology and have used a wide variety of the chemicals I talk about.

              1. also, I agree with capitol, you can get nice looking product that contains contaminants. unless you have some kind of super monster tolerance, I doubt you would be shooting 500mg shots of 99+% pure methamphetamine. it also depends on if you were doing the racemic or pure dextro isomer, from the sound of it, seems like the product you had was racemic, but I could be wrong.

      2. the levo isomer still acts as a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor as well as having some (not much though) dopamine reuptake inhibting effects. it still acts as a powerful stimulant, just not as euphoric to most people. the DEA, as reported in their publication Microgram, has seized large batches of illicit l-methamphetamine on the black market. much of the black market methamphetamine is a 50:50 racemic mix of dextro and levo methamphetamine. I believe the prescribed form of methamphetamine, Desoxyn, is just the dextro isomer. there is also propylhexedrine which is found in the similar decongestant Benzedrex, which is much more potent. it is the cyclohexyl form of amphetamine, IIRC.

        1. also, the racemic form of meth isn’t necessarily “weaker”, the levo isomer adds both central and peripheral stimulation, though less euphoric, but more importantly helps slow the metabolization of the dextro isomer, thus helping to extend the duration of effects. this is why the levo isomer of amphetamine is present in the prescription drug Adderall.

    2. Yeah? Show me a doctor that will prescribe me Desoxyn. The only person I know that can get it, is a bitch that’s blowing her Psychiatrist.

      Email me with his name. I’ll travel across the country if I have to.

      1. Ha ha

        Knew a guy that tried it, he said it was not to be beat. And he didn’t even have to blow any one. Sorry, can’t tell you where he got it.

      2. I personally know people who have gotten it prescribed for ADHD and narcolepsy, but good luck getting a script. best I’ve been scripted for ADHD was dexedrine, but that is still pretty damn good.

      3. Bitch blowing her psychiatrist for Desoxyn (whatever that is). Now that’s a movie I want to see.

  20. The U.S. Govt.: helping make drugs stronger.

    This is certainly true with opium, which is essentially unavailable. Heroin, 10-20x as strong, and far more dangerous, is plentiful on the streets, however. Thank your local DEA agent.

  21. Meanwhile you can get ephedrine uncontrolled in the form of ephedra, dietary supplement (Ma Huang), since the FDA ban on it was struck down as unjustified under DSHEA.

    1. and even when the ban was in effect, they permitted the sale of ephedra by people practicing Traditional Chinese Medicine. it also did not prohibit the seed or plant, it prohibited its use as a weightloss supplement outside of TCM. even if they would ban Ephedra sinica, there are MANY other species in the Ephedra genus; such as Ephedra distachya which contains up to or over 3% ephedrine, which is more than regular Ephedra sinica which can contain up to 2.2% ephedrine.

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