Pubdate: Tue, 30 Aug 2005
Source: Asheville Citizen-Times (NC)
Copyright: 2005 Asheville Citizen-Times
Author: Jason Sandford
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)

 From The Editor


Where'd my allergy medicine go? That's the question I keep asking myself 
every time I go to reach for my cold and allergy medicine and find it 
hidden behind a pharmacist's counter, instead of on the shelf.

I know the answer, of course. In an effort to stop the medications from 
being converted into methamphetamine, states are making it harder for you 
to put your hands on it. But that doesn't stop me from feeling more than a 
little peeved. And I have reservations about the effectiveness of banning 
over-the-counter sales of these cold and allergy meds that contain 
pseudoephedrine, the key to cooking meth.

Oregon has already passed a new law to require prescriptions for cold and 
medications that can be converted into meth. Oklahoma became the first 
state to ban the over-the-counter sales. At least a dozen other states have 
followed suit. At the federal level, lawmakers in Washington are also 
considering restrictions on the sale of medications containing 
pseudoephedrine, which is found in medicines such as Sudafed and Nyquil.

But what's happening in Oklahoma, according to a recent Associated Press 
report, is that while local meth production has declined, the illegal 
trafficking of smokeable Mexican meth known as "crystal ice" jumped. Other 
states are bracing for increases in the illegal drug trafficking, but drug 
agents say they can fight ice with techniques they already use against 
organized drug trafficking, the AP report said.

Finally, the report says the increase in crystal ice in Oklahoma may be an 
anomaly, that it's still to early to tell what impact the state laws will have.

No matter what happens, I can't help but feel like I'm being the one 
punished when I go to buy my medicine. Can't there be a better way to 
separate me from the criminals?
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MAP posted-by: Elizabeth Wehrman