Pubdate: Wed, 21 Apr 2010
Source: Pique Newsmagazine (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 Pique Publishing Inc.
Author: Jesse Ferreras


Obtaining Ingredients That Go Into Crystal Meth And Ecstacy Would Be Illegal

Sea to Sky's man in Parliament is promoting a bill that has unanimous 
support in the House of Commons.

John Weston, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver-Sunshine 
Coast-Sea to Sky Country, announced April 13 that Bill C-475, an Act 
to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, specifically 
methamphetamines and ecstacy, has passed second reading in the House 
of Commons. It received support from everyone present.

Weston spoke in favour of the bill prior to second reading and said 
its intention was to make a new criminal offense to obtain the 
ingredients that go into crystal meth and ecstacy with the intent of 
producing the drugs.

"These two drugs are highly toxic and addictive substances against 
which many informed people and agencies have rallied, including 
several members of this House," he said in his speech. "This bill 
attempts to attack the problem at its source, dealing directly with 
the precursors of these drugs."

Weston said in an interview that he's actually the second Member to 
take up the bill after Chris Warkentin, Conservative MP for Peace 
River, Alberta, introduced it in the House. Weston said he's taken it 
on because the issue "clearly identifies with the needs" of the 
people in his riding.

"Crystal meth and other drugs are highly addictive," he said. "The 
production of this thing ends up with five to one in terms of toxic 
waste, which is an environmental hazard.

"There are dangers associated with the manufacturing of the drugs: 
the toxicity of the fumes, the fires that happen, there's a large 
array of negative social and medical consequences that come from the 
projection of these things, and other countries are looking askance 
at us as being exporters of these drugs."

The production of crystal meth can be achieved through drugs obtained 
over the counter at a pharmacy. Ingredients include ephedrine or 
pseudoephedrine, both of which are found in cold, cough and energy medicines.

Producers of the drugs can use instruments such as pill pressers to 
squeeze the ephedrine out of the medicine and then cook it into 
crystal meth using chemicals such as ammonia, lye, or even the Drano 
product used to unclog drains.

People can ingest crystal meth by inhaling or smoking the crystals 
that result from production. The drug can help increase the amount of 
dopamine in the brain, enhancing the user's mood by stimulating brain 
cells and producing feelings of euphoria that can last up to 24 
hours. It can also create feelings of increased energy and 
wakefulness, and suppress fatigue and hunger.

The drug's side effects include irritability, nervousness and 
hypertension. More serious effects include seizures, extreme anxiety 
and hallucinations.

Ecstacy, meanwhile, a party drug that's also known as MDMA, also 
helps induce a sense of euphoria in its users. The drug is produced 
through a complicated scientific process involving hydrogen peroxide 
and sulfuric acid. It releases serotonin in the brain to induce 
feelings of intense happiness.

If it passes into law, Weston said his bill could bring criminal 
charges against anyone who acquires the ingredients of ecstacy or crystal meth.

He said a law enforcement officer will be able to pull someone over 
such as the driver of a truck containing the ingredients, search for 
a letter from someone who wants to obtain the drugs and then "stop 
the distribution of drugs at the source."

"I'm sure there are cases where people are buying quantities of that 
for good, legal reasons," he said. "They would have a defence to a 
charge under the law, but only the person who has acquired these 
precursors with the intention to procure the drug could face 
prosecution and conviction."

Now that it's passed second reading, the bill will have to go to the 
House of Commons Justice Committee. Once the committee completes 
hearings into the bill, it will then be passed to the Senate and then 
come back to the House of Commons for third reading, at which point 
it would be called into force by the Governor General and become law, 
should the House continue to support it.
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart