by Jon Sanders
Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies, John Locke Foundation
The Associated Press is reporting, "NC lawmakers to consider tougher laws on meth." That’s intriguing news because this year saw new, tougher laws on meth, and they were supposedly having great effect. What would the new, tougher-than-tough laws do?
The AP reports (with emphasis added),
A House committee is meeting Wednesday to discuss recommendations for the 2013 legislative session, which begins Jan. 30. Among the possibilities is requiring a prescription for cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in making meth.
Oh. Oh! So really, the lawmakers plan to consider tougher laws on cold medicine. Just like last year’s tougher laws on cold medicine. Take that, small group of meth-heads. Tough luck, vast majority of cold and allergy sufferers. If you want to buy an over-the-counter (OTC) cold medicine, you’re going to have to see a doctor first. What do you mean, that defeats the whole point of OTC medicines?
The unfortunate reality is that methamphetamine, as destructive as it is, is not only highly addictive, but also relatively easy to manufacture. Pseudoephedrine is a "key ingredient" in making meth, but can the rotting addicts make meth without it? Yes — and that’s why "fighting meth" by putting cold sufferers (i.e., pretty much everyone in society in any given year) through the wringer is poor public policy.
As discussed in a previous newsletter, the key ingredient to making meth depends on the policies in effect. A quick summary on that point:
In sum, the meth addicts continue — addiction being what addiction is — to find ways to feed their addiction (by increasingly dangerous means). The heavy traffickers aren’t stopped by laws preventing them from stocking up at the corner drug store. They just get more supplies from Mexican narcotics labs.
Cold sufferers are the ones jumping through hoops. Or worse, they’re resorting to purchasing formerly effective cold medicines that have replaced pseudoephedrine with phenylephrine, whose effectiveness in treating cold and allergy symptoms rivals that of ye aulde sugar pille.
But cheer up, Carolina cold sufferer, have you considered what that means? The next time you sneeze, you could save the money you might have spent on a state-sanctioned, glorified placebo and just as effectively treat your cold with the thought that the same laws making you unable to purchase an effective cold treatment hassle-free are enriching some drug lord south of the border. Bless you!
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