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“Even if it doesn't reduce the number of meth addicts by even one, stopping the labs is a huge plus.”
February 16, 2006 6:17 PM   Subscribe

Sine-Off is the first brand of cold, flu and sinus congestion medicine to completely reformulate and remove pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient needed to make Crystal Meth.
posted by ijoshua (100 comments total)

 
Some of us like our medicine with pseudoephedrine, thank you very much.
posted by furtive at 6:23 PM on February 16, 2006


so what are they doing with all that extra pseudoephedrine?

just curious.
posted by shmegegge at 6:23 PM on February 16, 2006


Actually almost all cold medicines reformulated and removed pseudoephedrine earlier this year, because it is now only available from a phamacist -- not on shelves.
posted by hipnerd at 6:23 PM on February 16, 2006


Maybe in your state, hipnerd, but mine hasn't. I see it all over the place, but then, I don't see it as a problem.

So now they voluntarily prohibit something, even if it's legal, because it might be used for drugs? You know, water is used in meth cooking too.
posted by fungible at 6:28 PM on February 16, 2006


why does this post read like an ad for sineoff?
posted by jonson at 6:29 PM on February 16, 2006


They took the Blue out of Pepsi, too. ;-(
posted by mischief at 6:29 PM on February 16, 2006


Does it actually work? It's like when they banned regular ephedrine, not because you can make meth out of it (you can) but because like a few people had heart attacks on it. Then people "reformulated" goofball diet pills to remove it.

I tried them once and they made me seriously depressed. Like they were supposed to work by making you too depressed to want to eat or something.

Anyway, I always figure if they ban something, it probably won't be as good as the original.

---

They really ought to just give up on the war on drugs, I mean, meth is so easy to make and you can make it from anything, even phenylalanine supposedly, a chemical that exists in all living things.
posted by delmoi at 6:30 PM on February 16, 2006


well i, for one, am glad we've finally solved our meth problem.
posted by keswick at 6:31 PM on February 16, 2006


Does this work as well as the stuff with pseudoephedrine? Because I never heard of it before I came to Mexico (Norwegian drug regulations are very strict, and especially when it comes to what you can get over the counter), but here, after discovering it, I use it as soon as I get a slight cold. Clears me right up. I swear by it.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:31 PM on February 16, 2006


Actually almost all cold medicines reformulated and removed pseudoephedrine earlier this year, because it is now only available from a phamacist -- not on shelves.

I don't know why something only being available from a pharmacist would be a big deal. It's not that hard to ask for what you want instead of grabbing it off the shelf, is it? In Australia we have a mandatory reporting scheme, where pharmacists are prevented from selling large quantities of pseudoephedrine-containing treatments to one person, and have to report it to the police if someone tries to buy too much. Seems to work well enough. There's a reason pseudoephedrine is in cold and flu treatments - it works damn well.
posted by Jimbob at 6:33 PM on February 16, 2006


Jimbob: a lot of states have various restrictions. Meth is a very, very low-class drug. Crankheads are considered like the lowest of the low, because it's so often associated with basicaly trashy people.

So my guess is that people are just worried about being associated with the meth issue at all.
posted by delmoi at 6:36 PM on February 16, 2006


Evidence clearly shows that reduction in the purity of meth reduces the number of new addicts. Finding alternate relief medication for colds is a great and communal solution.

I see it all over the place, but then, I don't see it as a problem.

Watch this.

It's not that hard to ask for what you want instead of grabbing it off the shelf, is it?

Absolutely not. Very easy in fact. However, any impedimident will be seen as possibly cutting into Pharma profits. Communities come second in capitalism very often.
posted by juiceCake at 6:37 PM on February 16, 2006



Yeah, what planet have you been on? All drug stores for the past 8 months around here have had non-pseudophedrine cold and sinus pills. This strikes me as pepsi.
posted by cavalier at 6:39 PM on February 16, 2006


This week's Frontline/PBS report -- 'The Meth Epidemic' -- focuses a significant amount of time on the black/gray market sales of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine and the U.S. government's efforts to regulate such.

You can watch the episode online.
posted by ericb at 6:39 PM on February 16, 2006


On preview -- juicecake links to the same television program.
posted by ericb at 6:41 PM on February 16, 2006


Well, as long as I can still get my Robitussin with dextromethorphan I'll be perfectly happy. :O)
posted by p3on at 6:43 PM on February 16, 2006


Ok, so the companies have reformulated to provide phenylephrine which is clearly a cardiovascular drug. Pseudoephedrine had relatively little effect on blood pressure and that's why when there was uproar about 5 years ago regarding OTC cold meds and blood pressure that pseudoephedrine was the last drug standing. Now, we're rolling that back to make room for more dangerous OTC drugs in exchange for a reduction in meth production. Who exactly wins?
posted by shagoth at 6:45 PM on February 16, 2006


GODDAMMIT!!11 FUCK!!111!!

(slugs a warm milwaukie's best, in my '72 toyota p/u on my way to tijuana.) Because where there is a (stupid/drunken/drug addled) will, there is a way!!! Go USA #111111!!!!
posted by snsranch at 6:45 PM on February 16, 2006


Those fucker'll never catch me!
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 6:51 PM on February 16, 2006


On principle I hate these kinds of stupid restrictions, but I fucking hate stupid tweakers even more.

A bunch of them just moved in next door, probably on the previous tenant's lease. It's starting already - the cars full of pure junk, the random piles of car parts and useless found objects, window screens off, people showing up at odd hours and climbing in and out of windows instead of using the fucking door like a human being. They already stole the lightbulb from our porch light.

I'm already itching for a WW2 issue flame thrower and a few dozen bug bombs. It's like discovering you have a huge, boiling hoard of roaches just hanging out in the dark at the back of your pantry.
posted by loquacious at 6:52 PM on February 16, 2006


Fittingly, Pseudoephedrine wins.
posted by brain_drain at 6:53 PM on February 16, 2006


>>Does this work as well as the stuff with pseudoephedrine?

No, not even close. Vicks has done this also. So has Walgreens. Another useless hand out to the war on drugs. The big meth labs scoff at small producer and I doubt any of this will make any difference. I'm sure this move has won some nifty political favors and possibly a smart move considering potential litigation like an apartment owner suing Vicks for making a "dangerous product" after some meth lab blows up or the parent of some mindless addict suing for the same reasons. Its pretty sad commentary about contemporary American society. Its like the drug warriors and the ligitious bastards got together to make sure my colds this winter were extra crappy.

The hard-edge tone of the Sine-Off commercial, I suspect, has a lot more to do with people complaining about the new less effective chemical. The low road of sanctimony is well traveled.
posted by skallas at 7:00 PM on February 16, 2006


I'm surprised to hear from so many people who like pseudoephedrine. Me, it makes the entire inside of my brain itch. No thanks.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:07 PM on February 16, 2006


I think the marketing speak that's causing the confusion is they literally mean: the first to reformulate all their products. The consumers would react by buying from the good guys. I would say their marketing department got on the ball after this.
posted by tellurian at 7:11 PM on February 16, 2006


Me, it makes the entire inside of my brain itch.

That's how you know it's working!
posted by graventy at 7:12 PM on February 16, 2006


I don't know why something only being available from a pharmacist would be a big deal. It's not that hard to ask for what you want instead of grabbing it off the shelf

My worry is that the extra hassle of keeping it behind the counter and having to track usage will cause pharmacies to stop carrying it.

I've got a load of allergies, and take Clarinex to try and control them. Sudafed is the only decongestant I can take (since Clarinex is already an antihistamine). If it becomes unavailable, it's going to suck for me.

It's really annoying to lose access to a drug that works well for you, without side effects, to push some pol's moral agenda.
posted by bitmage at 7:16 PM on February 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


In NY you can still buy it but i think you're limited as to how much. I'm with bitmage--I take Zyrtec everyday, but need Sudafed too.
posted by amberglow at 7:17 PM on February 16, 2006


Sudafed makes me feel like an absolute zombie. As much as I support efforts to find alternatives that cannot be abused for illegal drug manufacturing, I find it strange that it would be the sole motivation or strategy for marketing this product.
posted by prostyle at 7:27 PM on February 16, 2006


loquacious, that is the worst! Call the cops.

BTW tweak, ice, crank, whatever, isn't going away. It's still cheap and easy.

The psuedoephedrine thing was just the easy way of cooking up a batch. I'm no betty crocker, but jeez, that is effing weak. This move parallels gun control. "Duh, ok, let's ban guns/psuedoephedrine." Right, so only the bad guys can have it! Thanks for nuthin.
posted by snsranch at 7:29 PM on February 16, 2006


shagoth writes "Now, we're rolling that back to make room for more dangerous OTC drugs in exchange for a reduction in meth production. Who exactly wins?"

Policitians who look "tough on drugs" to gullible voters?
posted by clevershark at 7:31 PM on February 16, 2006


nebulawindphone writes "I'm surprised to hear from so many people who like pseudoephedrine. Me, it makes the entire inside of my brain itch. No thanks."

It clears your sinuses though, especially when combined with an antihistamine.
posted by clevershark at 7:33 PM on February 16, 2006


Used to see a lot of LSD around - not so much anymore
Used to see a lot of GHB around - basically never now
Used to see a lot of Ketamine around - pretty rare
Crystal Meth is next?
posted by redteam at 7:34 PM on February 16, 2006


what the fuck, loq - where do you live???! Are you from Bakersfield?
posted by jonson at 7:34 PM on February 16, 2006


Whoa, I definitely don't be around when some of you guys find out they had to stop putting Coca extract in Coke a long time ago.
posted by slatternus at 7:42 PM on February 16, 2006


if it reduces the effectiveness of said drugs, then it's stupid. I hope we don't end up with that crap happening here (Australia), but then with our fabolous US Free Trade Agreement maybe we'll be forced into it *sigh*. Can't work out what we've won out of the FTA. No entry into agricultural markets, yet we're adopting all of the US copyright laws and DMCA crap. *sigh sigh sigh sigh sigh*
posted by Jelreyn at 7:56 PM on February 16, 2006


This will accomplish nothing.
posted by ori at 8:00 PM on February 16, 2006


Can I have my Phenylpropanolamine back? I'm not a woman so I don't have to worry about stroke.
posted by Megafly at 8:00 PM on February 16, 2006


I fear the FTA too, Jelreyn. Codeine-based painkillers are available over the counter here - I take them occasionally for migraines. I understand that in the US, anything containing Codeine is prescription-only? Boy would that suck.
posted by Jimbob at 8:02 PM on February 16, 2006


Evidence clearly shows that reduction in the purity of meth reduces the number of new addicts.

Could you cite this evidence, please?

Also, taking away the pseudoephedrine doesn't automatically lead to a reduction in the purity of meth. It might lead to the reduction in the purity of meth available from your local dealer cooking it at home. But it's not like meth can't come up on the trucks with cocaine.

From the Argus Leader of South Dakota (found on nexis):
"Arrests for methamphetamine possession in Minnehaha County increased significantly in 2005, despite a continued decline in the number of meth labs busted.

"Authorities say the statistics indicate steps taken to restrict access to pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in making meth, have been effective.

"However, homegrown labs account for so little of the area's supply that their reduction has hardly dented the amount available on the street.

"The big winner is organized crime," Sheriff Mike Milstead said, adding that more than 80 percent of meth used in Minnehaha County comes from Mexico or southern states."
posted by Airhen at 8:08 PM on February 16, 2006


You people all take way too many drugs for pragmatic reasons.
posted by hackly_fracture at 8:19 PM on February 16, 2006


Could you cite this evidence, please?

Sure. Watch this.
posted by juiceCake at 8:20 PM on February 16, 2006


jonson: Worse. Valley of the SpunPhoenix, AZ.

Yeah, I've been to Bakersfield. And Fresno, and all over the Southern California deserts and valleys. It's actually worse out here - in sheer numbers and tweakiness - plus it's easier for them to hide for some reason.

There seems to be more people that are just folks that are probably not actually tweakers, and many tweakers look like just folks. Everyone out here is all sun/wind burned. If it wasn't for my spare tire, I'd probably think I was a tweaker if I met myself on the street.

Tweakers fucking suck. Tweakers fucking suck, a lot. Fuck you, tweakers!
posted by loquacious at 8:21 PM on February 16, 2006


You might also want to go through this and this if you'd rather not watch doc.
posted by juiceCake at 8:28 PM on February 16, 2006


I had to wait in line, sign my name and driver's licence number down to buy 4 oz. of Children's Dimetapp last week. I was ever so pissed.

I would love to break this law.
posted by thirteen at 8:32 PM on February 16, 2006


So where do I click to skip the ad?
posted by R. Mutt at 8:33 PM on February 16, 2006


Sine-off's motivation has nothing to do with fighting the war on drugs. They have been "victimized" by the move of their product "behind the counter" in many states. This is a pure and simple marketing move to try to convince the public that their new formulation (that does not have to be behind the counter) is just as effective as the old formula. The meth fighting angle is just P.R.

But I still think this is a crappy FPP.
: )
posted by spock at 8:42 PM on February 16, 2006


Evidence clearly shows that reduction in the purity of meth reduces the number of new addicts.

Could you cite this evidence, please?


As juiceCake suggests, the Frontline/PBS documentary spends quite a bit of time on a research study that found that the level of purity of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine used in the manufacture of "meth" directly correlates to how severely people get addicted to the drug.

The level of purity fluctuates over time and rehab centers have seen a concurrent rise-and-fall in the number of folks who are admitted for treatment, as well as the ability of those who are able to break free from their addiction.

From his second (and my first) link:
"Why has there been a rise and fall in the purity of meth over the years? How pure is it today?

Purity reflects how the meth market is doing. If the drug is at peak production and supply meets demand, the cooks have little reason to dilute it with filler. However, if the supply of the key chemicals needed -- ephedrine and pseudoephedrine -- is reduced, it becomes more difficult to produce meth and purity falls. History shows that in periods immediately following a new government regulation on ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, average purity will fall."
If you have the time, watch the documentary.
posted by ericb at 8:45 PM on February 16, 2006


It's really annoying to lose access to a drug that works well for you, without side effects, to push some pol's moral agenda.

i can see the points argued about whether limited availability of useful products has an effect on actual meth production/use/addiction--at least if argued by those who would make the effort to research it before casting an opinion--but to characterize the side of the issue that favors restriction as a 'pol's moral agenda' demonstrates a careless level of ignorance of the subject at hand...there's no shame (obviously, apparently) in prioritizing one's personal comfort over wider social tragedies, but at least admit it wholly, and at least research the subject, before ill characterizing the motivations of those who by most accounts are genuinely concerned about the personal- and community-level devastation meth addiction has caused...politicians involved seem to fight and uphill battle and don't score a lot of points by tackling the subject, and it's not something particularly on the radar of the family values set...
posted by troybob at 8:47 PM on February 16, 2006


Hmm, I saw some creepy ass dude on the bus the other day. He had these glassy bright green eyes. and he kept looking up and around the bus, in this very mechanical way. 47 times in 17:00 minutes (yes, I counted).

One old dude who I had seen on the bus, very gregarious, talking with the drivers was silent, one middle aged woman (40s or so) was so unnerved by him she actually got off the bus at the stop after she got on, in the middle of nowhere.

It was very creepy, and he had a long slender bag, that could have been some sort of gun bag. The guy (and his friend, both totally silent the whole trip) got off at a bar with a pool table, so I'm guessing it had a pool que in it, but still.

Anyway, IMO the way to curb meth addiction is to legalize other drugs that aren't so... unnerving..

You might also want to go through this and this if you'd rather not watch doc.

Sadly, I've seen so much anti-drug propaganda in my life, much of which turned out to be a total lie. How can I trust these things to be accurate?

You should see the frontline they did on porn. Biggest nonsensical scaremongering I've ever seen.
posted by delmoi at 8:48 PM on February 16, 2006


Delmoi: It's not even necessary to grapple with the notion that lower quality meth = fewer addicts. It's well established that restricting access to pseudoephedrine doesn't make meth harder to get. It simply shifts production to organized crime and violent overseas drug syndicates which is, frankly, a net negative.
posted by Justinian at 8:59 PM on February 16, 2006


Let me preface my opinion on this with a little background.

When I was 19, I took meth once. Then when I came down, I took some more, and then again, and again. Basically, on monday I was a normal person, by thursday I was completely hooked, and had been up since monday morning. Fortunately I was poor at the time, and ran out of money. When I woke up on saturday or sunday I realized how fucked up the last week had been and how close I had come to complete ruin. I've never touched the stuff, or any other drugs, since.

I was watching the previously mentioned frontline story last night and was thinking to myself, is it worth giving up the convenience of my preferred nasal decongestant, in exchange for there being no more meth in the world? Well, I'd say yes. However, this isn't going to work unless you can convince every lab in the world to stop making pseudoephedrine, and this is unlikely to happen.

In the frontline story, someone from the DEA was talking about the success they had with quaaludes. They basically said that they convinced every lab in the world to stop making quaaludes, which isn't entirely true. In reality, at the time that the DEA wanted to stop quaaludes from being made, other, better sedatives where starting to be used by doctors in their place, such as valium. Since the legitimate demand for 'ludes was dropping, and this drug was no longer making them much money, it wasn't hard to convince the labs to stop production.

Pseudoephedrine is an entirely different story. It still is very popular, and is making labs lots of money. You will not be able to convince labs to take a big hit to their bottom line by stopping production of pseudoephedrine.

The other route, limiting sales to consumers, is bound to fail. When you inact laws like this in the US (or canada for that matter), meth cooking operations will just move to another country.

So, my opinion is that the current pseudoephedrine laws are crap, since they will make it less convenient for me to have a clear nose, while not actually accomplishing the stated goal of eliminating meth.

delmoi: Sadly, I've seen so much anti-drug propaganda in my life, much of which turned out to be a total lie. How can I trust these things to be accurate?

I would agree, most anti-drug propoganda is at least less than honest. However, of what little propoganda I've seen on meth, I'd say it's mostly true. Speed really is an awful thing to get mixed up in.

It seems that most of the propoganda I've seen for all drugs tends to inflate the negative effects of lesser drugs (like pot) in an attempt to make them seem as bas as stronger drugs (like heroin), or make completely wild conclusions, such as this page which says ..."since marijuana can affect judgment and decisionmaking, its use can lead to risky sexual behavior, resulting in exposure to sexually transmitted diseases like HIV"
posted by darkness at 9:25 PM on February 16, 2006


Sadly, I've seen so much anti-drug propaganda in my life, much of which turned out to be a total lie. How can I trust these things to be accurate?

If you're ever up in Vancouver, I'd be happy to give you a walking tour of a little skid row neighborhood we call Pigeon Park. I guarantee you'll find most of that anti-drug propaganda tame afterwards...
posted by slatternus at 9:37 PM on February 16, 2006


The replacement drug is nowhere near as effective; my wife has tried it and it basically doesn't work for her.

Luckily, I'm on prescription 12-hour extended release pseudoephedrine, so no problems here. :)
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 9:40 PM on February 16, 2006


You know for every person who started with meth on a Monday and felt hooked by Thursday, there are at least two others for whom it was just a dabbling thing that eventually stopped. And I think that's part of the problem with anti-drug propaganda: sometimes the worst is true and sometimes it's not. But effective proaganda can't say, "Well, maybe it will totally screw up our life or maybe you'll just screw around in college and go on to a normal life. We can't tell." Even though that's the truth.
posted by dame at 9:49 PM on February 16, 2006


(wikipedia.org) In particular, Pfizer, who manufactures the name brand decongestant Sudafed, introduced "Sudafed PE" in 2004. The new formulation uses phenylephrine instead of pseudoephedrine.
posted by clyde at 9:59 PM on February 16, 2006


Mark A. R. Kleiman works on drug policy for the Federation of American Scientists. Here's what he has to say about meth.
Unfortunately putting Sudafed behind the counter now, while it would be useful in shutting down toxic domestic meth labs, probably wouldn't matter much to overall meth supply; it's estimated that 80% of the stuff now comes in from Mexico. Maybe if we'd done that ten years ago, the genie could have been kept in the bottle; but now that a mass methamphetamine retail distribution system and user base exist, it's going to be next to impossible to shut off the supply of the bulk drug.

There's probably some mileage to be obtained by spreading the "Speed Kills" meme in places where meth is just arriving, or where it hasn't quite reached yet. If there's any evidence that meth is jumping the racial barrier, that would be good time for heavy anti-meth messaging in the African-American community. The AIDS control commuity already has meth use among gays in its sights, but there's more to be done on that front.

Other than that, we're S.O.O.L as far as useful policy interventions go. Meth is simply not a good enforcement target because it has no obvious "choke point." In particular, the hand-to-hand, acquaintance-to-acquaintance, low-frequency style of retail meth dealing makes it pretty close to invulnerable to enforcement, especially in rural areas where undercover work is hard.
posted by russilwvong at 10:07 PM on February 16, 2006


I know people who have gotten hooked on meth and had it destroy their lives. I know people who started taking too much meth, realized it, and then stopped with some difficulty. I know people who use meth recreationally with no problem at all. And I know people who tried meth once or twice and never used it again.

Sort of like every other drug I know of. Including alcohol and pot.
posted by Justinian at 10:12 PM on February 16, 2006


phenylephrine does not work on me, plain and simple.
It is crap.
I'll happily play the police state games to keep my migranes at bay.
sign here, check ID, cross reference my name elsewhere ... bla bla bla.

What truly suprises me is that you can still buy DXM with no questions asked. Pseudoephedrine is only a component of meth. DXM is a nice trippy drug all by itself, no preparation required.
posted by Dillenger69 at 10:18 PM on February 16, 2006


Meth is still less addictive then nicotine, supposedly. And on top of that, it's only schedule-II (unlike the evil schedule-I marijuana), it can be legally prescribed in the US to treat ADD, even in children. If it was really so harmful, I doubt the FDA would have approved it.

I'm just having a lot of trouble buying into this whole "Oh noes, epidemic, worst drug evar" stuff.
posted by delmoi at 10:20 PM on February 16, 2006


or make completely wild conclusions, such as this page which says ..."since marijuana can affect judgment and decisionmaking, its use can lead to risky sexual behavior, resulting in exposure to sexually transmitted diseases like HIV"

I'm no anti drug advocate, but if you break that statement down, it is essentially true. All the quote is saying is that it's possible. It's not saying that there is a correlation, just that there could be one. It's not saying that getting HIV is common outcome of using marijuana or even, for that matter, more likely than if you had just had a beer. It's misleading, to be sure, because it implies correlation and likelihood, but since what it's actually saying is true, I don't think you can say it's making any wild conclusions.
posted by juv3nal at 10:32 PM on February 16, 2006


Frontline was disgusting -- an hour of prohibitionist propaganda, unrelieved, unmediated, unquestioned. But I finally learned why there's no more methaqualone. (DAMMIT!) Quaalude really wasn't an especially dangerous drug, and such a wonderful aphrodisiac. I hope that asshole at DEA is happy that whatever percent of former 'luders have turned to heroin instead.

Will the US ever figure out that prohibition does far more harm than the prohibited drugs? The folly ended so fast for alcohol, but continues as shrill as ever for other drugs, destroying lives and liberty at home and abroad, enriching violent criminals and criminalizing harmless citizens, the unwinnable and unending "war." Sigh.
posted by clicktosubmit at 10:33 PM on February 16, 2006


delmoi : "it can be legally prescribed in the US to treat ADD, even in children. If it was really so harmful, I doubt the FDA would have approved it."

The basic idea is that the dopaminergic system is dysfunctional in ADHDers, and they don't experience the same euphoric effect as recreational users, so they can stick better to controlled dosing regimens. But they should be vulnerable to the same cardiovascular risks, I suppose.

"Meth is still less addictive then nicotine, supposedly."

That can be very misleading. Most meth experimenters are aware of the general WoD and specific meth propaganda, which does factor in, like in darkness's case above. Historically, cigarettes have been innocuous, thus leading to most people using regularly enough to become dependent. If you were to force equivalent proportion of meth experimenters to use the drug pretty regularly, after a year, I wager you'd find a comparable, if not greater, number dependent.

Dillenger69 : "What truly suprises me is that you can still buy DXM with no questions asked."

The alternative is opiates. One class is a lot more popular than the other. Guess which.

juv3nal : "It's misleading, to be sure, because it implies correlation and likelihood, but since what it's actually saying is true, I don't think you can say it's making any wild conclusions."

But that's the whole point. Technically true, but crafted with audience psychology in mind, like advertising.
posted by Gyan at 10:36 PM on February 16, 2006


I haven't seen faces of meth on here; it's kind of cool.

I agree that a pseudoephedrine ban is useless, but I think all of you Meth apologists out there are nuts. Talking to public health professionals convinces me that this drug is a scourge. I don't care if some or most people can keep themselves under control when they 'dabble' in meth. The addicts who can't are scary enough even when they represent a small segment of the total user base.

The labs are an environmental disaster, and a nasty fire risk.

The vast majority of shaken baby deaths have supposedly been linked to meth use. (I don't have links for this, which is why I say supposedly)

I've heard enough Anecdotally from nurses and dentists about the freaky effects of prolonged meth abuse to not want to see anyone taking it.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:39 PM on February 16, 2006


Used to see a lot of LSD around - not so much anymore
Used to see a lot of GHB around - basically never now
Used to see a lot of Ketamine around - pretty rare


Thankfully crack cocaine and heroin are still in abundant supply.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:41 PM on February 16, 2006


I propose a maxim: Prohibition is ineffective in the face of addiction.

Can it help prevent addictions? Probably. But as has been said earlier, we're well past that point now. Too late.
posted by Richard Daly at 10:53 PM on February 16, 2006


That can be very misleading. Most meth experimenters are aware of the general WoD and specific meth propaganda, which does factor in, like in darkness's case above.

Similarly, today, most nicotine users can't fail to be aware of the various health risks and dependency-causing properties of tobacco. Shit, they're outlined in big letters on every single pack.

If you were to force equivalent proportion of meth experimenters to use the drug pretty regularly, after a year, I wager you'd find a comparable, if not greater, number dependent.

Rubbish. Nobody forces anyone to smoke -- nevertheless, the proportion of occasional, recreational smokers to addicts is so tiny as to be almost non-existant. Which is precisely *why* nicotine is generally rated as the most addictive drug.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:55 PM on February 16, 2006


PeterMcDermott : "Similarly, today, most nicotine users can't fail to be aware of the various health risks and dependency"

Which is why I prefaced my comment with 'Historically'.

PeterMcDermott : "Rubbish. Nobody forces anyone to smoke -- nevertheless, the proportion of occasional, recreational smokers to addicts is so tiny as to be almost non-existant."

Cite? The 1992 National Comorbidity Survey classifies 32% of smokers as dependent. Kleiman, quoted above, claims that of those who have tried 5 cigarettes, 85% become some sort of regular users. Even that claim is far from "almost non-existent".

PeterMcDermott : "Rubbish. Nobody forces anyone to smoke"

That's not the point. If you were to forcefully impress upon someone who has smoked 5 cigarettes that they had to quit, vast majority would succeed. It's the belief that they can be light users and quit later or next year is what lets enough use for dependence to set in. That sort of relaxed attitude is less prevalent among those try meth, due to the general environment regarding drugs, especially hard ones, and the immediacy of the side-effects like darkness experienced.
posted by Gyan at 11:10 PM on February 16, 2006


Those damn blue-collar tweakers... they're in charge of this here town.

the thing that pisses me off the most is supposedly NyQuil has been reformulated to remove pseudoephedrine. WTF? NyQuil is like a gift from the gods, and i am very sad that it wont work quite so well anymore.

having said that i got a tip the other day that Longs' house brand generic nyquil-product still contains pseudoephedrine. so if you live in NoCal you might be saved.
posted by joeblough at 11:15 PM on February 16, 2006


I'm just having a lot of trouble buying into this whole "Oh noes, epidemic, worst drug evar" stuff.

Gotta try harder, delmoi, or you'll miss the boat. It's been the "worst drug ever, no really, we mean it" for a couple of years now, and nearing the end of its turn in the spolight.

Previous devil drugs de jour, marching backward through time: ecstasy, strong brown heroin, crack, "angel dust," weak white heroin, cocaine, weed of course always in a supporting role, LSD, and way back in the '60s.... amphetamines! Back then, speed was clean, pure, cheap, and made by pharmaceutical companies. Thank God they shut that down almost entirely. This time around, we have big vats of poison in rumpus rooms, horrible toxic adulterants, murderous mobsters, homes turned into hazardous waste sites and fireballs, and high prices requiring addicts to commit more crime.

And they say the war on drug-using citizens hasn't made progress.
posted by clicktosubmit at 11:19 PM on February 16, 2006


The basic idea is that the dopaminergic system is dysfunctional in ADHDers, and they don't experience the same euphoric effect as recreational users, so they can stick better to controlled dosing regimens. But they should be vulnerable to the same cardiovascular risks, I suppose.

The basic idea? The basic idea? Honestly, why the hell would you say something like that? No one knows what causes ADHD, no one has any idea! What compels people to spout out scientific sounding garbage like that with such conviction? Honestly, stuff like that just pisses me off. Here is what the National institute of mental health says causes ADHD. Here is the most technical bit:
The main or central psychological deficits in those with ADHD have been linked through these studies. By 2002 the researchers in the NIMH Child Psychiatry Branch had studied 152 boys and girls with ADHD, matched with 139 age- and gender-matched controls without ADHD. The children were scanned [with an NMRI] at least twice, some as many as four times over a decade. As a group, the ADHD children showed 3-4 percent smaller brain volumes in all regions—the frontal lobes, temporal gray matter, caudate nucleus, and cerebellum.

This study also showed that the ADHD children who were on medication had a white matter volume that did not differ from that of controls. Those never-medicated patients had an abnormally small volume of white matter. The white matter consists of fibers that establish long-distance connections between brain regions. It normally thickens as a child grows older and the brain mature
So in other words, you're completely full of shit. Either that or your on your way to a Nobel prize, captain science. Why don't you publish your findings?

That can be very misleading. Most meth experimenters are aware of the general WoD and specific meth propaganda, which does factor in, like in darkness's case above

Most huh, unlike the 'most' of cigarette smokers who can't read the warnings right on the packs? Or never see the anti-smoking commercials on TV?


That's not the point. If you were to forcefully impress upon someone who has smoked 5 cigarettes that they had to quit, vast majority would succeed. It's the belief that they can be light users and quit later or next year is what lets enough use for dependence to set in


Thanks again for the useful factoid captan science!
posted by delmoi at 11:32 PM on February 16, 2006


Previous devil drugs de jour, marching backward through time: ecstasy, strong brown heroin, crack, "angel dust," weak white heroin, cocaine, weed of course always in a supporting role, LSD, and way back in the '60s.... amphetamines! Back then, speed was clean, pure, cheap, and made by pharmaceutical companies.

Yup, the WoD is just forcing people to use nastier and nastier shit.
posted by delmoi at 11:35 PM on February 16, 2006


delmoi : "So in other words, you're completely full of shit."

Take it easy.
posted by Gyan at 11:40 PM on February 16, 2006


Gyan, that study is hardly conclusive, even the abstract is full of mights and maybes and it certainly isn't enough to say anything about the effects of methamphetamine on the brain of ADHD sufferers.
posted by delmoi at 11:45 PM on February 16, 2006


Not to mention that I've known plenty of ADHD people who could get off on amphetamines just fine.
posted by Justinian at 11:50 PM on February 16, 2006


delmoi : "Gyan, that study is hardly conclusive, even the abstract is full of mights and maybes"

That's most abstracts in active research of complex topics. The abstract clearly mentions that studies have found abnormal amounts of DAT in ADHD patients and that "Medications for ADHD interfere with dopamine transport by brain-region- and drug-specific mechanisms, indirectly activating dopamine- and possibly norepinephrine-receptor subtypes that are implicated in enhancing attention and experiential salience." Does that make it the Truth about why it's OK for ADHDers to use stimulants? No, but that's part of the scientific method.
posted by Gyan at 11:53 PM on February 16, 2006


Cite? The 1992 National Comorbidity Survey classifies 32% of smokers as dependent.

OK my bad. But define dependence. If we're talking physical dependence, then neither meth nor nicotine have serious physical withdrawal. Both, it could be argued, are little more than bad habits that some find difficult to break.

Kleiman, quoted above, claims that of those who have tried 5 cigarettes, 85% become some sort of regular users. Even that claim is far from "almost non-existent".

It's more than four-fifths though -- a pretty overwhelming majority. And I'd expect that you'd find that it's very significantly higher than the number of people who experiment with methamphetamine who become some 'sort of regular users'.

That's not the point. If you were to forcefully impress upon someone who has smoked 5 cigarettes that they had to quit, vast majority would succeed.

How is that any different from the someone who had taken methamphetamine, say, five times?

It's the belief that they can be light users and quit later or next year is what lets enough use for dependence to set in. That sort of relaxed attitude is less prevalent among those try meth, due to the general environment regarding drugs, especially hard ones, and the immediacy of the side-effects like darkness experienced.

That's not my experience, and I don't believe it's supported by the data either. However, you seem to be moving from away from the argument that the pharmacology of meth makes it more likely to cause dependence than nicotine, to the idea that dependence is just as much a function of the combination of drug, set and setting and that the particular historical circumstances in which we find ourselves make meth use more likely to result in dependence.

I think this is a more plausible argument, but I still disagree with it. Just as people who are prone to take methamphetamine in the current climate are using in the knowledge that it, so people who take up smoking do so in the knowledge that it causes dependence and various smoking related illnesses.

Regarding methadrine's much vaunted come-down and it's role in producing dependence -- most novice users will use in the company of other, more experienced users who will inform them about the crash and associated depression. This in itself will be enough to dissuade many people from using the drug a second time , and as darkness points out, he never used it after his first experience for precisely this reason.

However, if you tell people that this isn't just an unpleasant side-effect, but is actually the first signs of the onset of dependence, then you'll get many more people who believe that propaganda and use it as an excuse to continue using.

See, for example, John Booth Davies book, The Myth of Addiction and the role that attribution causes in forming beliefs about dependence and powerlessness to act.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:55 PM on February 16, 2006


Ugh. That should be:

Just as people who are prone to take methamphetamine in the current climate are using in the knowledge that it causes problems in some people...
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:11 AM on February 17, 2006


PeterMcDermott : "How is that any different from the someone who had taken methamphetamine, say, five times?"

It's not, and that's my point.

PeterMcDermott : "However, you seem to be moving from away from the argument that the pharmacology of meth makes it more likely to cause dependence than nicotine"

No, since I never postulated that pharmacology was the root cause. I agree with Davies' contention that addiction is not an outside entity imposed on one, but that doesn't mean that different drugs have equal propensity to guide you into dependent behavior. Drugs & circumstances matter, and in the case of nicotine vs. meth, I haven't seen a clean ruling out of circumstances.

PeterMcDermott : "so people who take up smoking do so in the knowledge that it causes dependence"

Depends on how firmly they believe that. A former roommate (who said he had to draw the line somewhere when offered pot) smokes about a pack a week, and has put off quitting because he says he's not bothered by it currently. So, is he addicted or not? Anecdotal, yeah, but then I'd like to see a large survey of smoker's attitudes to confirm what you're saying.
posted by Gyan at 12:17 AM on February 17, 2006


It's not, and that's my point.

I thought it was the opposite of your point? I understood your original point to be that methamphetamine is inherently more likely to produce dependence than nicotine?

that doesn't mean that different drugs have equal propensity to guide you into dependent behavior

I agree. There's good strong evidence that crack cocaine has a much greater propensity to create dependent behaviour than cocaine hydrochloride due to the differences in action caused by mode of administration.

However, the only comparative data that I've ever seen between amphetamines and nicotine have actually rated nicotine far higher. Hence my original quibble.

So, is he addicted or not?

I have a friend, Warren. He's a thirty-eight year old OT nurse. Married with one child, both he and his wife drive decent cars and own a three bedroom semi-detached house in a nice part of town.

Despite recent open heart surgery to correct a valve problem, Warren smokes two bags of crack cocaine and one bag of heroin a day and has done for the last ten years. Whenever any of his friends suggest that this might not be a good idea, especially in light of his recent heart problems, Warren tells us that he's able to afford it and is not bothered by it currently (though he keeps this habit from his wife).

So, is he addicted or not?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:32 AM on February 17, 2006


So, is he addicted or not?

Sure he's addicted, but addiction isn't equal to "destroyed by". Heroin, for instance, is an extremely safe drug. If you get good pure heroin, clean needles, have someone to look after your kids while you're high, don't overdose, you can take it every day for 30 years and be quite happy.
posted by Jimbob at 12:49 AM on February 17, 2006


I like drugs.
posted by melt away at 5:48 AM on February 17, 2006


I don't think making it illegal as an answer, but I have seen enough of the negative side-effects of meth to say that it's dangerous, and you are really better off not ever doing it. There are better ways to get fucked up.
posted by empath at 6:34 AM on February 17, 2006


I am privy to the letters submitted to the Frontline website (owing to the fact that I work for it), and we've gotten a few letters from people claiming to be former meth cookers who say that there are well-known recipes for meth that do NOT involve pseudoephedrine or ephedrine. And owing to the fact that ephedrine is a naturally occuring compound and has its own chemical precursors, this makes sense.

However, as referenced in the documentary, there are only about 10 factories in the WORLD capable of large-scale pseudoephedrine manufacture and existing major meth operations are geared towards using pseudoephedrine. So it could very well be possible to regulate the world supply of pseudoephedrine and temporarily squeeze the meth supply lines.

But, as I just mentioned, there are ways to manufacture the drug without ephedrine. So it seems like a very temporary solution.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:37 AM on February 17, 2006


Does that make it the Truth about why it's OK for ADHDers to use stimulants? No, but that's part of the scientific method.

Gyan, are you kidding? Not only is it not "the Truth" it has nothing to do with meth's effect on ADHDers or ADDers at all. You still just pulled it completly out of your ass, and it conflicts with what Justinian's real-world experiance.
posted by delmoi at 6:42 AM on February 17, 2006


Also, I have to point out that I've been seeing the reformulated sinus medicines in the stores for months now (Sudefed PE, etc.) and the shit absolutely DOESN'T WORK!
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:29 AM on February 17, 2006


Decongestants are a huge waste of money, although some people swear by them. They do fuck-all for helping along colds and increase, at times, the odds of one evolving into a sinus infection.

But meth, now that stuff will fix anything.
posted by docpops at 8:35 AM on February 17, 2006


It's not that hard to ask for what you want instead of grabbing it off the shelf, is it?

Absolutely not. Very easy in fact.
Unless it's 8:30 at night. I've been in the local drugstore and not been able to get Sudafed because the pharmacy had closed. That sucked.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:44 AM on February 17, 2006


BrotherCaine writes "The labs are an environmental disaster, and a nasty fire risk."

Felony criminals not worried about zoning and OSHA regulations, film at 11.

The reason we have all these toxic waste sites and explosions is the war on some drugs has been fairly successful in making safe precursers hard to get. So criminal manufacturers are forced to go with less safe methods. And they do it in residential areas because the land is cheaper so when it gets seized your out less than if you do it on farms or in industrial areas.

This isn't only affecting criminals either, all sorts of formerly widely available safe chemicals are restricted or unavailable to honest people in an effort to stop anyone anywhere from OMG having a chemical good time. We're forced to use products that are often less effective, more expensive, more dangerous or even all three. You can't even buy AA batteries some places with showing ID. Cripes I have to drive out of town to an industrial farm supply place to buy 46-0-0 fertiliser [1] because none of the retail gardening supply places carry it anymore. "Luckily" the smallest container they sell it in is 40kg bags so I only need to make the trip every 3-4 years.

[1] a much better de-icer than salt. It works to a lower temperature and doesn't kill plants like salt does.
posted by Mitheral at 9:37 AM on February 17, 2006


delmoi : "Not only is it not 'the Truth' it has nothing to do with meth's effect on ADHDers or ADDers at all."

Why don't you cite how you know that.
posted by Gyan at 12:26 PM on February 17, 2006


PeterMcDermott : "I understood your original point to be that methamphetamine is inherently more likely to produce dependence than nicotine?"

My original point was that a greater proportion are dependent on nicotine than on meth because of the circumstances. In simple terms, if the threshold for being nicotine-dependent is N and meth-dependent is M, then because of the seemingly innocuous nature of cigs and general circumstances, more smokers reach N than meth users reach M, although it is my personal belief that N and M are comparable in common terms (no. of doses, frequency..etc).

PeterMcDermott : "Warren smokes two bags of crack cocaine and one bag of heroin a day"

Assuming Warren is real, he's surely physically dependent on the heroin, via tolerance alone. He's spending, what, 30-40,000 pounds a year!!
posted by Gyan at 12:28 PM on February 17, 2006


there's no shame (obviously, apparently) in prioritizing one's personal comfort over wider social tragedies, but at least admit it wholly, and at least research the subject, before ill characterizing the motivations of those who by most accounts are genuinely concerned

Oh, spare me the sanctimonious bs Troybob. The war on drugs is not being fought for the good of the people by 'genuinely concerned' government officials. If it was, we'd see a focus on treatment and harm reduction instead of ever-increasing penalties.

I'm just lucky that all I face is difficulty breathing and thinking. 'Genuinely concerned' my ass. Tell it to the chemo patient who can't keep food down and can't have a pot brownie that would fix their nausea. Tell it to the person in agonizing chronic pain, whose doctor is afraid to prescribe narcotics for fear of the DEA.

The war on drugs is about power and control. Concern for the health and welfare of the citizenry is dead last.
posted by bitmage at 12:48 PM on February 17, 2006


Why don't you cite how you know that.

Gyan my point is that there is no way that you can go from current scientific understanding to "meth dosn't make ADDers high". Why don't you admit that you were talking out your ass (And what I refered to as not being "The Truth" was the fact that people knew X, not that X isn't true. And if people don't know X, then neither do you)
posted by delmoi at 2:04 PM on February 17, 2006


The "meth doesn't make ADDers high" is just another mantra of the "adderall/desoxyn/ritalin are NOTHING LIKE crystal meth!" apologists. Of course a recreational dosage of meth makes most ADDers high.

(note: that you can get high on meth doesn't mean it shouldn't be used to treat disease. You can get high on morphine and I'm all for using it to treat pain.)
posted by Justinian at 2:27 PM on February 17, 2006


Come to think of it, I'm all for people being able to use it for whatever they want to use it for, including recreationally, so that disclaimer was unnecessary.
posted by Justinian at 2:30 PM on February 17, 2006


i didn't speak to the general 'war on drugs'...i made a statement that the politicians who have been loudest about meth problems have seemed overall to be responding to what they consider crisis situations in their communities...i haven't seen that these guys are all about penalties--they tend to be fighting for prevention and treatment, often against agencies and officials who know too little about the problem...

and i've smoked more weed and know more potsmokers than probably anybody here, but i would shit myself in surprise if i were to meet someone with a medical weed card who actually has a diagnosis to back it up...to me, the argument for legalization is quite solid enough, and it has rather pissed me off to see it undermined by the disingenuous rhetoric and overestimation of its medical applications...the very silliness that potheads coast to coast can't be bothered to get up to change the channel yet have such deeply heartfelt activist support for cancer patients is infuriating, and were i so ill i would be offended by being used this way...so let's not get too friendly to the idea that those favoring drug legalization have any more concern for 'health and welfare' than those who fight it...
posted by troybob at 2:39 PM on February 17, 2006


delmoi : "meth dosn't make ADDers high"

'High' is a broader term than 'euphoric'. Upon further research, it turns out it's mostly due to kinetics of oral administration.
posted by Gyan at 2:46 PM on February 17, 2006


So low doses administered orally have a different effect than high doses administered by smoking or snorting? No shit?
posted by Justinian at 2:54 PM on February 17, 2006


All part of the Global War on Pleasure.
posted by squirrel at 5:40 PM on February 17, 2006


Decongestants are a huge waste of money, although some people swear by them.

Count me in that group. I've got a post-nasal drip like you wouldn't believe, and the only thing so far that can stop me from sounding like I'm trying to hack up a hairball all day is some pseudoephedrine. I'm not really fond of being on the stuff all the time, but I'm told that there are probably no long term effects.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 11:03 PM on February 17, 2006


Registry posts names of methamphetamine makers.
posted by ericb at 9:44 AM on February 20, 2006


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