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Offline SubliminallyOveranalyzed

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Meth isnt an argument for drug prohibition-It demonstrates prohibition’s failure

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2015/10/12/meth-isnt-an-argument-for-drug-prohibition-it-demonstrates-prohibitions-failure/



Meth Truth w/ Proof They Never Offer With Their "Facts"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOCsIyIGNls





In addition to the many economical and societal costs of prohibition---->it has a long history of driving the spread of harder or more dangerous drugs. Certain people wish/need to get high. If we attempt to block their access to the drugs they want, they will find ever more harmful ways to get them.
 
MARIJUANA to dangerous synthetic concoctions —such as AM-2201, JWH-018, JWH-073, or HU-210, (called Spice or K2 etc.)
POPPIES to morphine, to heroin, to Desomorphine (dihydrodesoxymorphine, Permonid, street name KROKODIL)
COCA to cocaine, to crack, to Paco/Kete/Bazuco/Pitillo.
EPHEDRA to ephedrine, to methamphetamine.
MAGIC MUSHROOMS, PEYOTE or AYAHUASCA TEA to synthetics with similar hallucinogenic and/or amphetamine-like properties like ECSTACY (MDMA), to PMMA, to MDPV, to 2CB/designers.
 
At every step the reasons for the rise in popularity of the new form of the drug are one or more of the following: 
 
* It may be easier to smuggle.
* It may be more addictive, thus compelling the buyer to return more frequently. 
* It may be cheaper to produce, therefore yielding more profit. 
* Like a game of "whack a mole" a shutdown of producers in one area will mean business opportunities for another set of producers with a similar product.
 
Prohibition's distortion of the immutable laws of 'supply and demand' subsidizes organized crime, foreign terrorists, corrupt cops, and unconscionable politicians, while feeding the prejudices of self-appointed culture warriors everywhere. So called Tough-On-Drugs politicians have happily built careers on confusing prohibition's horrendous collateral damage with the substances that they claim to be fighting while the big losers in this battle are everybody else, especially we the taxpayers. 
 
The whole drug prohibition scheme is based on the FDA listing particular substances under different categories pursuant to the controlled substances act. A new designer drug that is actually a new synthetic substance and not a cocktail of existing drugs is therefore temporarily legal until the DEA and FDA catch up with it and it gets listed as a controlled substance.

So how come so many of us have been deluded into believing that big government is the appropriate response to non-traditional consensual vices?

The Economist highlights an interesting new study that claims a connection between meth labs and “dry counties.”

The authors argue that local prohibitions lower the price of drugs such as meth relative to alcohol. This is hard to prove, because dry counties share many traits with counties that have meth problems. The authors claim that after controlling for factors including income, poverty, population density and race, legalising the sale of alcohol would result in a 37% drop in meth production in dry counties in Kentucky, or by 25% in the state overall.

Since no one knows exactly how many meth labs there are in America, the paper uses those discovered by the police as a proxy for meth production (see map). They provide further evidence for their argument by noting that lifting the ban on selling alcohol would also reduce the number of emergency-room visits for burns from hot substances and chemicals (amateur meth-producers have a habit of setting themselves alight).

Of course, our maddeningly repetitive response to evidence that prohibition of an intoxicating substance is causing people to turn to more potent and dangerous intoxicating substances has always been to then crack down on those substances too. Imagine for a minute if instead of fighting meth addiction by punishing cold and allergy sufferers, these dry counties lifted their ban on alcohol sales. Better yet, imagine we made it easy to obtain legal amphetamines, which we did for a long time in this country. Now imagine that we spent, say, even a fourth of the money we spend on the drug war on facilitating treatment for addicts. The Portugal example suggests we’d have less addiction, less crime and fewer overdoses.

Meth is often the example prohibitionists pull out when someone points to an example like Portugal. “So you’d legalize meth, too?” But as the Economist piece suggests, meth is a product of prohibition (in this case alcohol, but also restrictions on amphetamines more generally), not an argument in favor it. We have a meth problem because we have drug prohibition. Without it, meth wouldn’t go away, but it almost certainly wouldn’t be as prevalent as it is today.

The map that accompanies the Economist article is interesting. Look at Missouri, which was one of the first states to require an ID to purchase cold medicine that contains pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in the home manufacture of meth, along with restrictions on the amount of the drug one person can purchase per month. The state has since passed additional laws further restricting the sale of the drug. The laws prevented the sale of tens of thousands of boxes of cold medicine. But it was far from a success. “We still have a tremendous meth problem,” Southeast Missouri Drug Task Force director Mark McClendon told the Southeast Missourian last November. “But it’s importation. That’s where the problem is. The labs are not nearly as common as they used to be. … There’s still lots of imported meth in the area. It’s very prevalent.” The map shows that last year, Missouri and Indiana led the country with the most meth lab seizures.

McClendon added that he’d like to see his state require a prescription for pseudoephedrine. Again, the solution to a failed crackdown always seems to be more cracking down. That’s what Oregon and Mississippi have done. Both states now require a prescription for pseudoephedrine. And as you can see from the map, lab seizures in both states are down dramatically.

Meth still Oregon’s No. 1 problem, run mostly by Mexican drug traffickers

So in 2015, nine years after the most restrictive law in the country took effect, law enforcement officials in Oregon still believe that meth is the state’s “No. 1? problem.

This has been the story with these laws, over and over again.

But that isn’t the whole story. Meth hasn’t gone away in Mississippi. A deputy in Jackson told a TV station in 2013, “Meth use is still prominent as it always has been. We’re seeing the higher grade of meth coming from Mexico. They have the super labs, which refines the product to the purest form, and it’s demanding. Which is coming from Mexico and being trucked into the United States.” So instead of getting made in motel rooms and mobile homes, it’s now coming in from Mexico. It’s more potent, and it comes with all the attendant crime of an international black market.

In Oregon, the bulk of the decline in meth lab seizures actually occurred before the prescription requirement took effect in 2006. It also mirrored a similar decline in neighboring states that didn’t pass the prescription requirement. And as with Mississippi, the law didn’t do much to reduce the availability of meth. A 2011 report from the Office of National Drug Control Policy concluded that five years after the law was enacted, there remained a “sustained high level of methamphetamine availability” in Oregon. And the number of meth-related overdoses actually went up. As recently as June, the Portland Oregonian ran a story with this headline:

Restrictive laws in West Virginia cut the sale of cold medicine in the state by more than 25 percent between 2013 and 2014. Meth is now coming to West Virginia from Mexico, leading editorials like this one from May, in which the Charleston Gazette-Mail laments that “West Virginia law enforcement isn’t equipped to fight Mexican drug cartels.” Some of the state’s lawmakers have responded by trying to push a prescription-only law.

Nebraska restricted the sale of cold medicine in 2005. The number of meth lab seizures fell from 321 in 2004, to just 9 in 2012. Yet in 2013, eight years after the law took effect, Nebraska law enforcement officials still said meth was the state’s “single biggest threat.” One drug task force reported a 1,000 percent increase in meth seizures from 2011 to 2013. The Lincoln Journal-Star reported last year that, “indictments involving meth constituted about 75 percent of the 165 [federal] indictments alleging drug trafficking in the state.” Where is all the meth coming from? The Omaha World-Herald reported last year that the Sinaloa Mexican drug cartel “is now the main distributor of methamphetamine in Nebraska.”

The results have been similar at the national level. In a 2006 rider to the PATRIOT Act renewal, Congress passed a federal law requiring ID to purchase pseudoephedrine and putting federal restrictions on the amount of the drug anyone can buy in a month. Five years later, the Associated Press analyzed a decade of federal data and found that the law “has not only failed to curb the meth trade, which is growing again after a brief decline. It also created a vast and highly lucrative market for profiteers to buy over-the-counter pills and sell them to meth producers at a huge markup.” Meth-related incidents (arrests, seizures and lab discoveries) were up 34 percent in 2009. In the three states that passed more restrictive cold medication laws in 2008, the number of incidents went up 67 percent. That includes a whopping 164 percent increase in Oklahoma, the first state in the country to pass the ID law.

The WatchOpinion
Meth isn’t an argument for drug prohibition. It demonstrates prohibition’s failure.
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The authors argue that local prohibitions lower the price of drugs such as meth relative to alcohol. This is hard to prove, because dry counties share many traits with counties that have meth problems. The authors claim that after controlling for factors including income, poverty, population density and race, legalising the sale of alcohol would result in a 37% drop in meth production in dry counties in Kentucky, or by 25% in the state overall.

Since no one knows exactly how many meth labs there are in America, the paper uses those discovered by the police as a proxy for meth production (see map). They provide further evidence for their argument by noting that lifting the ban on selling alcohol would also reduce the number of emergency-room visits for burns from hot substances and chemicals (amateur meth-producers have a habit of setting themselves alight).

Of course, our maddeningly repetitive response to evidence that prohibition of an intoxicating substance is causing people to turn to more potent and dangerous intoxicating substances has always been to then crack down on those substances too. Imagine for a minute if instead of fighting meth addiction by punishing cold and allergy sufferers, these dry counties lifted their ban on alcohol sales. Better yet, imagine we made it easy to obtain legal amphetamines, which we did for a long time in this country. Now imagine that we spent, say, even a fourth of the money we spend on the drug war on facilitating treatment for addicts. The Portugal example suggests we’d have less addiction, less crime and fewer overdoses.

Meth is often the example prohibitionists pull out when someone points to an example like Portugal. “So you’d legalize meth, too?” But as the Economist piece suggests, meth is a product of prohibition (in this case alcohol, but also restrictions on amphetamines more generally), not an argument in favor it. We have a meth problem because we have drug prohibition. Without it, meth wouldn’t go away, but it almost certainly wouldn’t be as prevalent as it is today.

The map that accompanies the Economist article is interesting. Look at Missouri, which was one of the first states to require an ID to purchase cold medicine that contains pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in the home manufacture of meth, along with restrictions on the amount of the drug one person can purchase per month. The state has since passed additional laws further restricting the sale of the drug. The laws prevented the sale of tens of thousands of boxes of cold medicine. But it was far from a success. “We still have a tremendous meth problem,” Southeast Missouri Drug Task Force director Mark McClendon told the Southeast Missourian last November. “But it’s importation. That’s where the problem is. The labs are not nearly as common as they used to be. … There’s still lots of imported meth in the area. It’s very prevalent.” The map shows that last year, Missouri and Indiana led the country with the most meth lab seizures.

McClendon added that he’d like to see his state require a prescription for pseudoephedrine. Again, the solution to a failed crackdown always seems to be more cracking down. That’s what Oregon and Mississippi have done. Both states now require a prescription for pseudoephedrine. And as you can see from the map, lab seizures in both states are down dramatically.

But that isn’t the whole story. Meth hasn’t gone away in Mississippi. A deputy in Jackson told a TV station in 2013, “Meth use is still prominent as it always has been. We’re seeing the higher grade of meth coming from Mexico. They have the super labs, which refines the product to the purest form, and it’s demanding. Which is coming from Mexico and being trucked into the United States.” So instead of getting made in motel rooms and mobile homes, it’s now coming in from Mexico. It’s more potent, and it comes with all the attendant crime of an international black market.

In Oregon, the bulk of the decline in meth lab seizures actually occurred before the prescription requirement took effect in 2006. It also mirrored a similar decline in neighboring states that didn’t pass the prescription requirement. And as with Mississippi, the law didn’t do much to reduce the availability of meth. A 2011 report from the Office of National Drug Control Policy concluded that five years after the law was enacted, there remained a “sustained high level of methamphetamine availability” in Oregon. And the number of meth-related overdoses actually went up. As recently as June, the Portland Oregonian ran a story with this headline:

Meth still Oregon’s No. 1 problem, run mostly by Mexican drug traffickers

So in 2015, nine years after the most restrictive law in the country took effect, law enforcement officials in Oregon still believe that meth is the state’s  # 1 problem.

This has been the story with these laws, over and over again.

Restrictive laws in West Virginia cut the sale of cold medicine in the state by more than 25 percent between 2013 and 2014. Meth is now coming to West Virginia from Mexico, leading editorials like this one from May, in which the Charleston Gazette-Mail laments that “West Virginia law enforcement isn’t equipped to fight Mexican drug cartels.” Some of the state’s lawmakers have responded by trying to push a prescription-only law.

Nebraska restricted the sale of cold medicine in 2005. The number of meth lab seizures fell from 321 in 2004, to just 9 in 2012. Yet in 2013, eight years after the law took effect, Nebraska law enforcement officials still said meth was the state’s “single biggest threat.” One drug task force reported a 1,000 percent increase in meth seizures from 2011 to 2013. The Lincoln Journal-Star reported last year that, “indictments involving meth constituted about 75 percent of the 165 [federal] indictments alleging drug trafficking in the state.” Where is all the meth coming from? The Omaha World-Herald reported last year that the Sinaloa Mexican drug cartel “is now the main distributor of methamphetamine in Nebraska.”

The results have been similar at the national level. In a 2006 rider to the PATRIOT Act renewal, Congress passed a federal law requiring ID to purchase pseudoephedrine and putting federal restrictions on the amount of the drug anyone can buy in a month. Five years later, the Associated Press analyzed a decade of federal data and found that the law “has not only failed to curb the meth trade, which is growing again after a brief decline. It also created a vast and highly lucrative market for profiteers to buy over-the-counter pills and sell them to meth producers at a huge markup.” Meth-related incidents (arrests, seizures and lab discoveries) were up 34 percent in 2009. In the three states that passed more restrictive cold medication laws in 2008, the number of incidents went up 67 percent. That includes a whopping 164 percent increase in Oklahoma, the first state in the country to pass the ID law.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the number of people reporting use of methamphetamine in the previous month jumped from 353,000 in 2010 to 595,000 in 2013. The number reporting use in the past year was about the same as it was in 2007. (The survey cautions against comparing data prior to 2007, when the survey methodology changed.)

According to the 2014 National Drug Threat Assessment, “methamphetamine availability is increasing in the United States.” Seizures of meth at the southwest border have increased threefold since 2011, and the meth they’re seizing is exceptionally pure.
The increasing availability of meth and the increasing restrictions on pseudoephedrine actually prompted the Journal of Apocryphal Chemistry to publish tongue-in-cheek step-by-step instructions on how to turn street meth into cold medicine.

Meanwhile, families in Oregon and Mississippi now have to schedule an appointment with a doctor to get cold medicine. That likely means time off from work and a co-pay for an office visit. This would seem like a pretty significant burden on, say, a low-income family with three or four allergy-laden kids. Other cold and allergy sufferers just face increasingly difficult barriers to relief. And there have been several reports over the years of people who certainly don’t appear to be drug manufacturers getting arrested and prosecuted for mistakenly buying more than their allotted share of pseudoephedrine.

Unfortunately, because meth can be produced from legal medication produced by pharmaceutical companies, it’s unlikely we’ll get any sanity on this issue any time soon. Traditionally, an alliance of progressives, libertarians and a smattering of small-government conservatives have pushed back on the drug war. That alliance has been pretty successful in forging a consensus in some areas, particularly marijuana policy. On meth, however, the presence of Big Pharma has pushed some progressives into alignment with prohibitionists.

In the past few years, outlets from Mother Jones to CounterPunch to the Huffington Post have advocated for restrictions up to and including a prescription requirement, usually by citing the lobbying pharmaceutical companies have done against those laws, apparently on the logic that if Big Pharma is for it, everyone else should be against it. As I pointed out in a post last year, even this isn’t exactly right. Some drug companies have have actually lobbied for more restrictions when those restrictions could give them an advantage over competitors.

But let’s get back to that Economist article, and what could work — loosening the restrictions on intoxicants instead of tightening them. Here’s what I suggested in that post from last year, which I think the data suggest is even more clear now than it was then:

Here’s one idea that makes too much sense for anyone to seriously consider: Legalize amphetamines for adults. Divert some of the money currently spent on enforcement toward the treatment of addicts. Save the rest. Watch the black markets dry up, and with them the itinerant crime, toxicity and smuggling. Cold and allergy sufferers get relief. Cops can concentrate on other crimes. Pharmacists can go back to being health-care workers, instead of deputized drug cops.

Everybody wins, save of course for those who can’t bear the prospect of letting adults make their own choices about what they put into their bodies.

Lawmakers only seem incapable of seeing any option but “cracking down.” So millions of innocent people get inconvenienced. A handful get arrested. And each new round of laws brings more unintended consequences. Inevitably the new regulations do nothing to cut off or even reduce the availability of meth. So lawmakers pass a new round of restrictions. And we do it all again.

And yet somehow it’s the passage above — the suggestion that we end this madness and let adults make their own decisions — that’s typically dismissed as crazy.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2015/10/12/meth-isnt-an-argument-for-drug-prohibition-it-demonstrates-prohibitions-failure/


_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

As it turns out, meth laws have unintended consequences



https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/10/14/as-it-turns-out-meth-laws-have-unintended-consequences/


Nebraska gets a lesson that other states have already learned.

One of Mexico’s most powerful drug cartels is now the main distributor of methamphetamine in Nebraska, federal law enforcement officials say.

The Sinaloa Cartel has built a sophisticated drug-trafficking operation in Omaha over the past five to eight years, according to the FBI . . .

Cartels increased their presence in Nebraska about the same time state officials effectively shut down local meth labs through laws limiting the sale of cold medicines, U.S. Attorney Deborah Gilg said.

Several top Nebraska law enforcement officials say methamphetamine trafficking from Mexico is the most serious drug threat to the state, and the problem is slowly growing.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration seized 230 pounds of meth in Nebraska between Oct. 1, 2013, and Sept. 30 — more than double the amount seized two years ago.

“The volumes (of meth) that we are seeing now are significantly more than what we were seeing three years ago,” Sanders said.

So Nebraska has fewer homemade meth labs, but there’s more meth on the street, and now instead of busting small, localized distributors, local officials are up against an international crime syndicate.

These results may have been unintended, but they certainly weren’t unpredictable. Other states that put heavy restrictions on cold medication have seen similar problems. The pseudoephedrine restrictions went national in 2006 when Congress snuck the provision into reauthorization of the Patriot Act. Within five years, we knew the law had little effect on the meth supply. From an Associated Press report in 2011:

 . . . [an] analysis of federal data reveals that the practice has not only failed to curb the meth trade, which is growing again after a brief decline. It also created a vast and highly lucrative market for profiteers to buy over-the-counter pills and sell them to meth producers at a huge markup.

In just a few years, the lure of such easy money has drawn thousands of new people into the methamphetamine underworld.

“It’s almost like a sub-criminal culture,” said Gary Boggs, an agent at the Drug Enforcement Administration. “You’ll see them with a GPS unit set up in a van with a list of every single pharmacy or retail outlet. They’ll spend the entire week going store to store and buy to the limit.”

Inside their vehicles, the so-called “pill brokers” punch out blister packs into a bucket and even clip coupons, Boggs said.

In some cases, the pill buyers are not interested in meth. They may be homeless people recruited off the street or even college kids seeking weekend beer money, authorities say.

But because of booming demand created in large part by the tracking systems, they can buy a box of pills for $7 to $8 and sell it for $40 or $50.

The tracking systems “invite more people into the criminal activity because the black market price of the product becomes so much more profitable,” said Jason Grellner, a detective in hard-hit Franklin County, Mo., about 40 miles west of St. Louis.

“Where else can you make a 750 percent profit in 45 minutes?” asked Grellner, former president of the Missouri Narcotics Officers Association.

Since tracking laws were enacted beginning in 2006, the number of meth busts nationwide has started climbing again. Some experts say the black market for cold pills contributed to that spike. Other factors are at play, too, such as meth trafficking by Mexican cartels and new methods for making small amounts of meth.

Oregon has one of the strictest laws in the country when it comes to obtaining cold medicine that contains pseudoephedrine. The state requires a doctor’s prescription. Proponents of such laws often cite Oregon as a success story, but closer scrutiny of data there doesn’t back up their claims. Mississippi also requires a prescription to get cold and allergy medications with pseudoephedrine. And again, while the law has shut down the state’s meth labs, here too, Mexican cartels have stepped in to fill the void. From an AP report last March:

An underworld that traffics meth has found its way to South Mississippi, with Mexican drug cartels sending small groups to handle the delivery of meth in its most potent form.
The addictive stimulant is known as Mexican meth, crystal meth or ice because of its appearance.

Hundreds of kilos of ice have been found here in the past couple of years and most of it is linked to Mexican drug cartels and their super labs, said Daniel Comeaux, agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Gulfport office.
“Drug cartels are trying to infiltrate different states and are setting up cell heads as distributors,” Comeaux said. “That’s what we are seeing here.” . . .
The influx in South Mississippi is in line with a DEA assessment that shows a shifting landscape nationwide and the possible effects of a 2010 Mississippi law that outlawed popular decongestants containing pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient used to make meth . . .
Since the law passed, reports of home meth labs, dump sites and related chemical and equipment finds have decreased dramatically. In 2010, 912 were reported to the El Paso Intelligence Center. There were 321 in 2011 and six in 2012.

A home meth lab can make a couple of ounces of meth, but a super lab can churn out 10 pounds of ice every 24 hours, according to a Government Accountability Office report to Congress . . .

Ice is said to be about twice as potent as homemade meth.

Mississippi officials also report an increase in “shake and bake” labs since the law took effect, a method of making smaller, individual-use quantities of the drug that can still be dangerous. Overall, they say meth use hasn’t been much affected.

According to the Hinds County Narcotics Unit it hasn’t seen any meth labs from 2012 until now. But that doesn’t mean people aren’t still using meth.

“Meth use is still prominent as it always has been. We’re seeing the higher grade of meth coming from Mexico. They have the super labs, which refines the product to the purest form, and it’s demanding. Which is coming from Mexico and being trucked into the United States,” Oster said.

And of course, as is often the case with the drug war, the government’s decision to focus on supply instead of treatment, and to punish everyone for the deeds of a few, has led to a number of horror stories in which new laws and aggressive police tactics have targeted innocent people. I laid out a few of them in a 2012 piece for the Huffington Post:

Overeager enforcement of the meth laws has also ensnared some innocent people, including several incidents in which parents and grandparents (especially families with multiple children with severe allergies) have been arrested for inadvertently exceeding their legal allotment of cold medication. In fact, when the federal government made its very first arrest under the new meth law, the Drug Enforcement Adminstration celebrated with a press release. William Fousse of Ontario, New York, the release explained, had purchased nearly three times the amount of cold medication he was allotted under the new law. But even federal prosecutors would later admit they had no evidence Fousse was manufacturing meth. He says he was unaware of the new law, and was stocking up on cold medication because it helped him recover from hangovers. He was still convicted and sentenced to a year of probation.

In 2005, 49 convenience store clerks in Georgia were arrested by federal law enforcement officials for selling the ingredients to make meth to undercover officers. Of the 49, 44 were Indian immigrants who didn’t speak English as their primary language, yet they were expected to understand the meth-maker lingo the agents used in their stores. (Defense attorneys would later point out that the agents were in fact using terms used more in TV and movies than by actual meth cooks.) In Mississippi, which like Oregon requires a prescription to purchase pseudoephedrine products, a woman was pulled over, searched and arrested this month for driving to Alabama to buy cold medication. Mississippi law also bars state residents from crossing the state border to purchase the medication.

There have been other questionable arrests and prosecutions in Iowa, Florida, and elsewhere.  Putting pharmacists in charge of policing people has also created an antagonistic relationship between the health care providers and their customers.

All of the hassle and suspicion has caused some cold sufferers to just do without the medication.* Sales of cold and allergy medication in West Virginia plummeted after new restrictions took effect in that state. Yet meth lab seizures in the state actually went up after the law took effect. Law enforcement officials speculate that while the law may have put a dent in large meth labs that cooked the drug for a large number of people, the people who bought from those suppliers simply turned to making the drug for themselves, using the shake and bake method.


The fact that meth can be manufactured with an ingredient found in legal, mostly over-the-counter medication has caused an odd split in alliances on this issue. Progressive outlets like Mother Jones and CounterPunch, who are normally critical of drug war excesses, have recently run articles advocating for requiring a doctor’s prescription to obtain medication with pseudoephedrine. Both publications credulously cite drug war proponents that progressive outlets usually treat with far more skepticism. Though both publications cite some of the figures I’ve tried to contextualize and pushed back against in this post, their strongest argument in favor of the requirement seems to be little more than that the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture the drugs are strongly opposed to it. Even that claim is somewhat complicated. Pfizer, for example, lobbied in favor of putting pseudoephedrine meds behind the counter because doing so benefited the company’s rival medication, which used a pseudoephedrine substitute. The substitute ingredient can’t be used to make meth. The only drawback: It’s just as useless at fighting cold and allergy symptoms.

So far, the only proven benefit of restricting consumer access to cold and allergy medication has been a reduction (which admittedly has been dramatic in places) in the number of dangerous homemade meth labs. That isn’t insignificant. Those labs are toxic, and hazardous to police, the community and the surrounding environment. But it has come with a number of costs, including the proliferation of the smaller shake and bake labs, the infiltration of Mexican drug cartels to meet the demand, the more potent meth those cartels bring with them, the significant hassle and barriers to millions of cold and allergy sufferers (which increase considerably under a law requiring a prescription), and the monitoring, targeting, arrest, and in some cases prosecution of innocent people. Finally, even if you believe the government has a responsibility to protect people from themselves, none of this seems to have done much to reduce the availability of meth. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “[m]ethamphetamine use has remained steady, from 530,000 current users in 2007 to 440,000 in 2012.”

Here’s one idea that makes too much sense for anyone to seriously consider: Legalize amphetamines for adults. Divert some of the money currently spent on enforcement toward the treatment of addicts. Save the rest. Watch the black markets dry up, and with them the itinerant crime, toxicity and smuggling. Cold and allergy sufferers get relief. Cops can concentrate on other crimes. Pharmacists can go back to being health-care workers, instead of deputized drug cops.

Everybody wins, save of course for those who can’t bear the prospect of letting adults make their own choices about what they put into their bodies.

(*In 2012, the Journal of Apocryphal Chemistry published an amusing step-by-step guide for cold and allergy sufferers explaining how to reverse engineer common street meth in order to make the pseudoephedrine they needed to to relieve their congestion. The authors cheekily described their article as “a simple series of transformations which allow pseudoephedrine to be obtained in a more straightforward manner than is the current norm.”)

« Last Edit: November 10, 2015, 07:13:09 PM by SubliminallyOveranalyzed »
~Is there any means by which any number of individuals can delegate to someone else the moral right to do something which none of the individuals have the moral right to do themselves? ~Do those who wield political power (presidents, legislators, etc.) have the moral right to do things which other people do not have the moral right to do? If so, from whom and how did they acquire such a right? ~When law-makers and law-enforcers use coercion and force in the name of law and government, do they bear the same responsibility for their actions that anyone else would who did the same thing on his own? ~3) Is there any process (e.g., constitutions, elections, legislation) by which human beings can transform an immoral act into a moral act (without changing the act itself)?

Offline Nicolas Roussin

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