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July 19, 2007 11:27 AM   Subscribe

Buy Sudafed, have a chat with Officer Friendly. Detective Brian Lewis returns to his desk after lunch, scanning e-mails he missed. One catches his eye: It says a suspected member of a methamphetamine ring bought a box of Sudafed at 1:34 p.m. at a CVS pharmacy. Minutes later, Lewis is in his truck, circling the parking lot, searching for the woman.

MethCheck is one of the new computerized tracking systems that will notify police of your decongestant purchases. Buy too much, or buy if you're already a suspect, and you'll be getting a visit from the law. Uncomfortable? Better hold your nose - the next version of the software will match you against everyone on your street to see if your aggregate buying warrants investigation.

We've discussed the Sudafed problem before, but this level of tracking opens up a new can of worms. It seems a small step before you get this tautology:
Why do you care that she bought Sudafed? Because she's a suspected meth ring member.
Why do you think she's in a meth ring? Because she bought Sudafed, silly!
posted by bitmage (143 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
This will end well. And by "this" I mean both the thread and the country.
posted by DU at 11:31 AM on July 19, 2007 [6 favorites]


>>Better hold your nose - the next version of the software will match you against everyone on your street to see if your aggregate buying warrants investigation.

Great. Yet more profiling that will penalize people who can't afford to live wherever they'd like.
posted by SaintCynr at 11:36 AM on July 19, 2007


Lack of sudafed is worse than the presence of meth. At least for me.
posted by GuyZero at 11:37 AM on July 19, 2007 [4 favorites]


Or carriage returns.
posted by NationalKato at 11:39 AM on July 19, 2007


Have any cold sufferers chosen not to buy the product because of these new regulations? I would imagine that, suffering through a cold someone might be more apt to buy the stuff thinking "well, if it's this tightly controlled it must be great!"

If you think this sudafed restriction sucks, trying being a chronic pain sufferer unable to get opioid due to the DEA harassing doctors who proscribe the stuff "too much" legitimate pain sufferers are, well, suffering because the government decided to err on the side of discomfort and pain rather then the side of perhaps addicts buying heroin off the street...
posted by delmoi at 11:40 AM on July 19, 2007 [4 favorites]


Horrible. Can't believe this is happening. Appalled.

Next thing you know I won't be able to purchase spoons, straws, water, soil, lighters, or lollipops without three references.
posted by NotInTheBox at 11:41 AM on July 19, 2007


Why do you think she's in a meth ring? Because she bought Sudafed, silly!

That's not a small step, that's a step that puts a sizeable percentage of Americans under suspicion.

Non-rhetorically speaking, do you know what criterion are currently used to place people under suspicion of meth activity?
posted by 23skidoo at 11:41 AM on July 19, 2007


NotInTheBox, don't forget about incandescent light bulbs. Those will be tightly controlled. Why not just enjoy the flickering and poor color of compact florescent, unless you have something to hide?
posted by wierdo at 11:43 AM on July 19, 2007


I was in a pharmacy the other day and saw a sign to the effect that from now on pseudoephedrine could only be dispensed with a prescription.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:45 AM on July 19, 2007


Actually a lot of people want to ban incandescent light bulbs in order to force people to save energy.
posted by delmoi at 11:46 AM on July 19, 2007


I was in a pharmacy the other day and saw a sign to the effect that from now on pseudoephedrine could only be dispensed with a prescription.

Where did you see that?
posted by delmoi at 11:46 AM on July 19, 2007


I had a buddy in college that made a pot-pipe out of an apple and some tin foil.

We should round up anyone who buys that stuff too.
posted by Hugh2d2 at 11:46 AM on July 19, 2007


I had a buddy in college that made a pot-pipe out of an apple and some tin foil.

I'm sure it's been said here before, but the specific ingenuity conferred by marijuana to make a smoking device of of most anything is most entertaining.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:50 AM on July 19, 2007 [5 favorites]


I was in a pharmacy the other day and saw a sign to the effect that from now on pseudoephedrine could only be dispensed with a prescription.

SCDB, that's an Oregon thing, not a federal thing. And it fucking sucks. It basically means that to get an effective decongestant, you have to have health insurance.

Fucking asshole legislators.
posted by dersins at 11:53 AM on July 19, 2007


Have any cold sufferers chosen not to buy the product because of these new regulations?

My wife. Though that had more to do with the fact that they were limiting the amount she could buy in one purchase, and she basically said 'fuck it' and chose to suffer rather than go back when she ran out.

I don't think I've ever used Sudafed nor have I ever tried meth, and yet this voluntary prohibition and tracking pisses me off to no end.

If we've done something wrong, arrest us. Otherwise don't limit the allergy relief my wife can have because you are incapable of doing proper investigative procedure.

Or better yet, how about you admit that you have absolutely no way of actually dealing with the meth problems in this country and come up with a new, better strategy.
posted by quin at 11:55 AM on July 19, 2007


And of course, the punch-line to these stories, in a predictable development so utterly typical of the War on Drugs that it depresses me even to point it out, is that while domestic production of meth in the US has been reduced, meth use is basically static and production has simply shifted to Mexican drug cartels.
posted by nanojath at 11:55 AM on July 19, 2007


I am so buying out all the Sudafed at my local pharmacy (and asking about the return policy, and saving the receipt, of course).
posted by Gregamell at 11:56 AM on July 19, 2007


Pepsi-blew. This advertising campaign has been very effective. Now, whenever I feel a cold coming on, I immediately snort as much meth as I can get my hands on!!!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:57 AM on July 19, 2007 [3 favorites]


Have any cold sufferers chosen not to buy the product because of these new regulations?

Yes. I've got a stockpile of pseudoephedrine from last year that I'm rationing out. The "new" stuff doesn't work worth a damn, and hell if I can be bothered to ask a pharmacist and give a blood sample or whatever to buy the real deal.

What's the status of pseudoephedrine in the EU? Can I bring a few boxes of das Sudafed home from Germany?

Lack of sudafed is worse than the presence of meth.

Indeed. What's more, while the restrictions may be stopping Johnny Badguy from making a few grams in his trailer, it's sure not stopping Juan Maldito from making a few kilos and shipping it north.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:59 AM on July 19, 2007


Imagine putting drug war money towards healthcare. Its not hard if you try.
posted by damn dirty ape at 12:00 PM on July 19, 2007 [18 favorites]


Uh, can't you buy ephedrine at your local Fitness Supplement shop? I imagine that'd be much better to make meth with, no? Or is their something magical about pseudo-ephedrine?
posted by eurasian at 12:00 PM on July 19, 2007


So buying the only drug that has ever cleared my incredibly painful sinus headaches means I end up on a freakin' "MethCheck" database? I feel like someone who has been put on a list of child molestors because he rented an old Shirley Temple movie.

Besides, no one would ever just rip off the stuff, would they? (I hope that link isn't reg only.)
posted by malocchio at 12:01 PM on July 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Okay, not to fling my wet blanket over the party of hating on The Man, but:

Under federal law, customers must show photo ID to buy pseudoephedrine, and the legal limit for purchases is 9 grams per month roughly the equivalent of two 15-dose boxes of 24-hour Claritin D, or three 10-dose boxes of Aleve Cold & Sinus, or six 24-dose boxes of Sudafed.

...who needs SIX BOXES OF SUDAFED a month?
posted by thehmsbeagle at 12:02 PM on July 19, 2007


Obviously none of these legislators have ever heard of ragweed.
posted by ao4047 at 12:03 PM on July 19, 2007


Have any cold sufferers chosen not to buy the product because of these new regulations? I would imagine that, suffering through a cold someone might be more apt to buy the stuff thinking "well, if it's this tightly controlled it must be great!"

Yes. It would easier to buy actual meth*-- you don't have to even wait for a receipt, much less wait for the teenager at the CVS counter to write down your personal info in a sloppy binder.

*Assuming I didn't live in New England (which has a low rate of meth use relative to the rest of the nation) or look like a narc.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:04 PM on July 19, 2007


delmoi asked: "Have any cold sufferers chosen not to buy the product because of these new regulations?"

Yes. Then I found the "PE" substitute stuff that one can buy just like any other OTC pill didn't cut it, so I broke down and took the little xard to the pharmacy window, filled out the form and forked over my drivers license, etc.

I have an esier time getting Vicodin scrips filled. I'd rather get plain codeine than those newfangled, more addictive, hearing- and liver-killing synthopiate-plus-acetaminophen things, but for some reason they push "Rush candy" instead.
posted by davy at 12:04 PM on July 19, 2007


Sudafed isn't cheap. I feel that this would only stop the most casual meth producers.

It seems to me that anyone manufacturing bulk meth for wide distribution would quickly run into an economic wall with the retail vs. wholesale value of this stuff. There must be a cheaper, higher-volume source for pseudoephedrine than in blister packs at the local drug store.
posted by pantsonfire at 12:06 PM on July 19, 2007


And of course, the punch-line to these stories, in a predictable development so utterly typical of the War on Drugs that it depresses me even to point it out, is that while domestic production of meth in the US has been reduced, meth use is basically static and production has simply shifted to Mexican drug cartels.

With meth, though, both the production and the consumption are a problem. Meth labs leave behind highly toxic and explosive chemicals when they move on.

So getting the production to move to Mexico sucks for Mexico, and it may not reduce use here, but it's kind of a win. I'm not convinced that they can attribute the reduction in production to sudafed restrictions, though. This seems like a pretty authoritarian knee jerk.
posted by gurple at 12:08 PM on July 19, 2007


and hell if I can be bothered to ask a pharmacist and give a blood sample or whatever to buy the real deal.

I walked up and asked them for some Sudafed. I showed my ID. They gave it to me. Took about two minutes. Wasn't that hard.
posted by pardonyou? at 12:08 PM on July 19, 2007


who needs SIX BOXES OF SUDAFED a month?

It's not that. The limit is reasonable modulo the hassle of having to be ID'd, stamped, filed, etc. And not being able to buy the larger-size boxes inexpensively at Sam's/BJ's.
And not being able to buy it in airports anymore. And...

The problem is the tracking and the move towards the presumption that a Sudafed buyer is up to something. The Detective in the story is pursuing a woman for buying one box. Because she's suspected of being in a meth ring.

The Oregon prescription requirement is nuts. And as dersins noted, effectively denies Sudafed to anyone without health insurance.
posted by bitmage at 12:11 PM on July 19, 2007


...who needs SIX BOXES OF SUDAFED a month?

Unlike the 24-hour Claritin D, or the Aleve Cold & Sinus, the standard Sudafed only lasts 4-6 hours. It's not at all unthinkable that a single person could go through that 24-dose box in 6 days.

And if you're a parent in a family of 5 ,with multiple people with colds (gee, no one would ever think that people who live together might get colds at the same time, huh?), that really won't be enough for the family. What, do they expect each person in the family to buy their own? You can't have one adult buy for the entire family?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:11 PM on July 19, 2007 [5 favorites]


Bet it wasn't after 6pm on a weekday, or any time on a Sunday, pardonyou?. I pretty much have to take off work to get sudafed in my area.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:14 PM on July 19, 2007


What would make this all more convenient for the feds is if they could cross-reference my decongestant purchases with my library checkout records and my grocery receipts. Because there's nothing more unAmerican than a Sudafed-sucking, Proust-reading cilantro lover, my friend.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:15 PM on July 19, 2007 [12 favorites]


"...who needs SIX BOXES OF SUDAFED a month?"

Somebody with REALLY STUFFY SINUSES, maybe? And maybe s/he's buying it for the whole family? Like during "cold & flu season" when her three kids caught something at school they then shared with everybody at Grandma's house to set off the Thanksgiving turkey?

And/or consider that even though genuine pseudoephedrine is hard to get the stores'll still have markdown sales on it (I went through the hassle of buying it because that week was half the price of the "PE" substitute), so somebody (say somebody on a low fixed income) might want to stock up (say in anticipation of "cold & flu season").

Again, here in KY it's a hassle: I had to fill out a form, show ID and copy down the number, etc. etc. It took about 6 minutes longer than it takes to fill a Vicodin prescription, buy enough Kentucky bourbon to float a racehorse, or pick up a box of 00 shotgun shells.

(On preview, DevilsAdvocate must type much faster tha I do.)
posted by davy at 12:16 PM on July 19, 2007


weirdo - I have some sorta tomato plant that requires that particular lighting... of course. Razor blades are another must on my list... But they only let me have one box of Claritan-D per week. Bastards!
posted by NotInTheBox at 12:17 PM on July 19, 2007


Hey FelliniBlank, you use cilantro? That's it, it off to Gitmo with YOU.
posted by davy at 12:18 PM on July 19, 2007


Took about two minutes. Wasn't that hard.

For my last purchase at Walgreens, I tried to buy one box of the standard Sudafed, and one box of the 24-hour variety. I had to sign on a pinpad terminal. They had to get a manager to approve some point of the process. It stopped the whole pharmacy line for about 5 min.

Then it rejected me, because those two boxes together broke some daily-purchase limit. They suggested that my wife who was with me purchase the other box (see! they're enabling crime!), so we went through the whole process again. The people behind me in line were less than amused at this point.

And now I wonder if a local officer got an email that afternoon.

I also wonder how much longer pharmacies are going to put up with this cost/hassle versus just not carrying Sudafed.
posted by bitmage at 12:19 PM on July 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yes, yes, yes. I always forget that I should never question the main thrust of MeFi rage. Sorry about that.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 12:21 PM on July 19, 2007


who needs SIX BOXES OF SUDAFED a month?

WHO GIVES A FUCK if you do or you don't?

Well, apparently the US government, because god knows it has nothing more pressing to worry about.

I can add this to my long list of reasons why America sucks.
posted by chunking express at 12:22 PM on July 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


Then it rejected me, because those two boxes together broke some daily-purchase limit.

Bingo. The daily limit (at least in CA) is as much of a problem as the monthly limit. This past winter I couldn't buy a box of daytime cold medicine at the same time as a box of nighttime medicine. That totally sucked - not only couldn't I make the quantity of meth I was hoping for that day, I couldn't get to sleep that night either.

I'd also like to remind everyone that Mefi darling Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D - CA) is responsible for saving us from ourselves in this instance.
posted by dbolll at 12:28 PM on July 19, 2007 [7 favorites]


From the ABC news article:

"Kentucky is the first state to use MethCheck; it has been testing it out in Laurel County since mid-2005. MethCheck will be used at some 7,000 pharmacies in 43 states by next year, said to Rick Jones, spokesman for Louisville-based Appriss Inc., which developed MethCheck."

Traitorous BASTARDS. As if the world doesn't already have enough to sneer at my state and its people about.

I suggest Appalachia secede from the U.S.A. over shit like this. In the proposed Free Republic of Appalachia not only will we not allow MethCheck, but it will also be legal to grow cannabis/hemp/marijuana and for that matter to sell it at farmers' markets alongside homegrown tomatoes and cucumbers.

And Louisville-based Appriss Inc. will be run across the river.
posted by davy at 12:28 PM on July 19, 2007




thehmsbeagle: Who needs 6 boxes a month of the 6 hour stuff? Perhaps someone whose family all got sick?

As chunking express said: Who gives a fuck?

It's not our place to decide whether or not someone needs that much Sudafed or not.

Besides, all I've seen since the Sudafed ban is less cooks and more imported meth. I suppose that's some kind of progress?

Personally, last time I wanted to buy some "real" Sudafed, the pharmacy didn't have any. They had a generic, which was nice, as it cost all of a dollar thirty. It took nearly 10 minutes to fill out all the paperwork to get the box of Sudafed. At least they didn't look at me like I was some sort of criminal, but that may have been because I paid by credit card. :p

The one thing I considered OK regarding this whole thing was the move to require that pseudoephedrine only be sold in blister packs. That was a reasonable idea. Once they got beyond that, they lost me.

Maybe that's because I need pseudoephedrine to fly. My eustachion tubes fill up with junk and prevent the pressure in my ears from equalizing on a pretty regular basis. One Sudafed is more than enough to prevent me from being nearly deaf and in excruciating pain for 24-48 hours after flying. Just thinking about it is making my ear hurt right now.
posted by wierdo at 12:34 PM on July 19, 2007


Here's the other idiotic thing. There are a few states where meth is a problem, and many states where it's not. When I was down in Texas a couple years back i was suprised to see a huge number of sudafed boxes stacked up on a big table in a "krogers" store (basically a pharmacy/convenience store). In Iowa it was kept behind the counter, due to the meth "epidemic"

On the other hand the restrictions put in place by the Iowa government were far less onerous then the federal restrictions placed on all the states. Stupid.
posted by delmoi at 12:36 PM on July 19, 2007


If you're having trouble getting the Sudafed, I suggest just buying some meth. It'll work just as well, be easier to get, and be cheaper.
posted by Justinian at 12:38 PM on July 19, 2007


The War on Drugs continues...

what a joke.
posted by clearly at 12:42 PM on July 19, 2007


WHO GIVES A FUCK if you do or you don't?

Well, apparently the US government, because god knows it has nothing more pressing to worry about.

I can add this to my long list of reasons why America sucks


Well, uh, it could be argued that the people have a compelling interest in controlling pseudoephedrine because it's an action that directly impacts the prevalance of local meth production, and local meth production is pretty harmful to people and families and communities. It just doesn't seem that unreasonable to me. Yes, these restrictions may force some god fearing tax paying Mefite to wait ten minutes while a cashier writes his name in slow motion, or some well intentioned and hard working mother to choose which of her nine children will have to miss out on being constantly drugged this month, but I believe in the long run these rules are not meant to be a huge burden, their implementation may improve, and they will have a positive impact on a real problem. Probably there are better things to get all whinybaby about.
posted by thirteenkiller at 12:42 PM on July 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


I had to show ID at Walmart yesterday to buy a bottle of knock-off Walmart Nyquil. It's not even got much pesudoephedrine in it.

And this in Rhode Island where, according to what I remember from the DEA Microgram, there has been something like one meth lab bust in the past two years.
posted by SweetJesus at 12:42 PM on July 19, 2007


davy : It took about 6 minutes longer than it takes to fill a Vicodin prescription, buy enough Kentucky bourbon to float a racehorse, or pick up a box of 00 shotgun shells.

Oh man, we so have got to get together and party. This sounds like a recipe for a really good time.
posted by quin at 12:42 PM on July 19, 2007 [5 favorites]


What davy & devilsadvocate just said. I think my family easily went through six boxes last February and getting it was a royal pain. I mean, there I am with my cart full of kleenex and giant industrial size bottles of cough syrup and cans of chicken soup, waiting patiently at the pharmacy counter. Waiting and waiting and waiting to fill out the forms and get my drivers license scrutinized by two separate people who then fill out their own forms and then I pay for the sudafed there and take my stapled bag humbly to the other register to buy the rest of my cold supplies. I was sure then that the meth police would be waiting for me at home although it did seem like all the kleenex would be overkill if I was just planning on making meth but, you know, camouflage is camouflage. So now my fingerprints and drivers license are in some little drawer up in Washington, are they? Great. You can get anything you want at the Patriot drugstore.
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:43 PM on July 19, 2007


Interesting side note on the prescription requirement in Oregon. Looks like the local newspaper whipped up a 'Trouble! Right here in River City!' frenzy that got legislators interested.
posted by bitmage at 12:44 PM on July 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've had to follow this idiocracy since it made its way to Congress.

First I was stockpiling the Pseudophedrine before the law was enacted.

Then I was buying it at the counter directly.

Then I was handing over a god damned ID and added to a registry in order to buy it.

You know what? Phenylephrine (PE), the "replacement", sucks, and every pharmacist I've talked to says as much. It just doesn't work as well, if at all, like Pseudophedrine. Pseudophedrine HCl is, for me, a remarkable wonderdrug because when it constricts the bloodflow, thus shrinking the membranes, it knocks out pretty much 98% of my allergic reactions. I don't need it every day, but when things get bad, I gotta get on that stuff for a good 12-24 hours or my life is miserable. I've tried all the flavors of PE, they suck. 30mg of Pseudophedrine HCl.. voila..!

So now I've got to enter a database somewhere everytime I try to stock up, and yeah, I can only stock one big box at a time, since otherwise I'm cooking it. Rarrwr..
posted by cavalier at 12:44 PM on July 19, 2007


I hereby vow to NEVER set foot in a CVS pharmacy again. I will not support a business that goes the extra mile to facilitate these kinds of draconian laws.
posted by zek at 12:44 PM on July 19, 2007


What's to stop meth makers from creating their own pseudoephedrine? According to the Wikipedia, manufacture starts by fermenting dextrose with a special strain of yeast. It doesn't seem all that complicated.
posted by pantsonfire at 12:47 PM on July 19, 2007


Wally Shirra: still wanted for questioning.

(Actually that guy could pilot a dishwasher through a hurricane and land without breaking a dish. I heard when he landed his spacecraft he was so close on the bullseye the Navy divers said the thing was still warm from reentry. I guess it was because he was hopped up on meth all the time.)
posted by Smedleyman at 12:50 PM on July 19, 2007


I hereby vow to NEVER set foot in a CVS pharmacy again.

Yeah, I'm sure Rite Aid'll fight the good fight with ya. :)
posted by hackly_fracture at 12:50 PM on July 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Claritin (or Claritin-D, the real one) is just PE plus loratadine.

You can buy either or both 'ingredients' as cheaper generics over the counter in Canada for about one quarter the price of brand-label Claritin, and while I've had drug store clerks raise eyebrows now and then, none have refused to sell me 100 of each in a baggie yet. That lasts me until the next time I am back in Canada.

Once and awhile they check with the pharmacist, and when I explain I'm just 'making' cheaper Claritin, they nod and approve.

I suspect one could buy 1000 this way. Your luck in US Customs is your own, of course.
posted by rokusan at 12:52 PM on July 19, 2007


The really frustrating thing about something like this is not that there is a database of Sudafed buyers, but that it's done in such a bone-headed fashion. There are so many reasons that one would purchase a large quantity of Sudafed and even the briefest aquaintance with Bayesian statistics will tell you that a market filled with legitimate buyers will assure false positives outnumbering true hits. More sophisticated data mining might be hard, but I doubt that the people using such software (or even writing such software, sadly) have a good enough handle on the usage data or on statistics in general to apply the knowledge. To say nothing of the privacy concerns that really ought to be considered in terms of blinding personal information.
posted by Schismatic at 12:54 PM on July 19, 2007


thirteenkiller, I can't imagine that serious-ass meth producers are buying up their pseudoephedrine at the local pharmacy. Is this a good way to stop meth production, or is it a good way to inconvenience consumers? Do you honestly think people producing Meth are going to pack it all up and call it a day because they can't buy pseudoephedrine at Shopper's Drug Mart? I have my doubts.
posted by chunking express at 12:58 PM on July 19, 2007


Everytime this comes up I get all pissed off. I don't use pseudoephedrine myself, since some Nyquil gave me the jitters that lasted a solid week, but my wife gets great relief from the stuff when the inevitable cold comes around. The new stuff is junk, and the last time I tried to buy the real product, I got the last box behind the counter, and they said they were not going to carry it anymore. Someone is getting what they wanted out of this slow march, but it was not the majority of people who use the product responsibly.
posted by thirteen at 1:04 PM on July 19, 2007


Have any cold sufferers chosen not to buy the product because of these new regulations? I would imagine that, suffering through a cold someone might be more apt to buy the stuff thinking "well, if it's this tightly controlled it must be great!"

If you think this sudafed restriction sucks, trying being a chronic pain sufferer unable to get opioid due to the DEA harassing doctors who proscribe the stuff "too much" legitimate pain sufferers are, well, suffering because the government decided to err on the side of discomfort and pain rather then the side of perhaps addicts buying heroin off the street...
posted by delmoi at 11:40 AM on July 19


Yes, I avoid it now because I resent the law and I don't need the hassle. Not to mention the fact that the supermarket where I normally buy medicines has a pharmacy department that closes early in the evening. I am sick and tired of government intruding on my life. If there's a meth problem, deal with that. Treat people, arrest people but stop treating the rest of us like criminals.
posted by etaoin at 1:04 PM on July 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


Is this a good way to stop meth production, or is it a good way to inconvenience consumers?

I have wondered this same thing, and why the drug companies have done nothing to stop the pseudoephedrine shutdown. I'm starting to suspect that maybe the substitute (pheniramine? whatever it is) is massively cheaper to produce than pseudoephedrine, so in effect maybe this is some sort of collusion to bump up profits under the guise of battling meth.
posted by zek at 1:07 PM on July 19, 2007 [3 favorites]


there are two elements in the requirement to show identification. one is the identification itself, yes, that's who you are. the second is recording the data when your id is swiped through a reader, and this can be defeated by exposing your id to a powerful magnetic field first. you have plausible deniability "damn, i must have sat down on a magnet thingy." they want your info, let 'em copy it by hand the old-fashioned way. this also prevents bars and clubs from capturing your data to market to you.
posted by bruce at 1:08 PM on July 19, 2007


If I want meth, I'll buy meth. If I want to clear my sinus from especially unpleasant pressure, vile post-nasal drip, and that brain dead feeling that goes with (can you tell I'm suffering now) I'll suffer. Because the fuckers won't sell sudafed without proof of fucking address and I use a passport as my identification. Fuckers. I just want clear nasal passages.
posted by Grod at 1:14 PM on July 19, 2007


From what I hear and read in the MSM, these days tweakers have switched off "crank" -- the impure powdery shit one makes out of sudafed -- to "crystal meth" (allegedly imported from Mexico).

By the way, the sudafed substitute is phenylephrine, which works okay in nasal sprays if you don't mind a worsened rebound in four hours.
posted by davy at 1:18 PM on July 19, 2007


I recommend watching the Frontline/PBS report -- 'The Meth Epidemic.' Mentioned in previous MeFi meth threads, it focuses on the black/gray market sales of "raw" ephedrine and pseudoephedrine to Mexico (and parts of the U.S.) where manufacturing of meth is prevlent. You can watch the episode online.

The pharmacy counter check seems like a 'Dutch Boy with a Finger in the Dike' approach of attempting to stem a growing tidal wave flood of the drug. I'm with George Soros -- let's consider the legalization of drugs wherein the government can eliminate the "black market," provide for quality and standards, tax the substances, provide prevention and treatment for those who abuse -- kinda like what the Feds have been doing for alcohol and tobacco.
posted by ericb at 1:18 PM on July 19, 2007


I do not agree with this, but I think some context is needed to see how we got here:

Methaqualone is seen as a huge success in prohibition. They effectively killed all supply and subsequently all demand, something never really seen before. Instead of going after methaqualone they decided to attack the suppliers by aggressively forcing chemical companies to stop making the necessary precursor chemical.

The precursor chemical they banned required a sophisticated setup to produce. There were only a few illicit manufacturers and they were all persuaded to stop. In the United States methaqualone is basically unheard of.

So they take the great success and apply it to all chemicals. Of course methaqualone was a special case of a chemical that was not popular enough to necessitate prices that would encourage underground manufacturing. With the exception of a few research chemicals, the synthesis of most illicit drugs are fairly easy for anyone that has taken organic chem with lab. Meth in paticular is easy, well understood and can be made not with chemicals of low demand, but things that can be bought on the street. When monitoring LSD or Ecstasy precursors you only have to monitor a few, somewhat rare chemicals (LSD is much more difficult than MDMA). The efficacy is dubious at best, and seems to only encourage production to places with poor regulatory environments and sophisticated industry (say Indonesia) and ship the product into the United States.

When the same thing is applied to meth you have huge gaps in the distribution chains due to its retail status. So much precursor changes hands of parties who don't have tracking or want to track things like chemical warehouses due. It would seem obvious to all of us that this would create more havoc than not, but this is a large governmental organization.

Their priority is to lower production and the only thing that has ever worked is completely stopping supply. If checks and balances didn't happen at every level it would be trivial to divert supply and would make the whole thing even more pointless. So they implement this at every link the chain of distribution and can say that no longer does that chain of distribution supply meth. Of course meth will come from other places, but not from there. Then you send a cheery report with statistics on meth use from domestic production down and you earn another 5 years at your post.
posted by geoff. at 1:23 PM on July 19, 2007 [4 favorites]


It's a good thing that cocaine is a much more effective antihistamine!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:31 PM on July 19, 2007


So let me get this straight: if I'm ever in Oregon, I can help someone commit suicide; I just can't use OTC Sudafed to do it. [making note in travel planner]
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:33 PM on July 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Why is meth called an 'unnecessary epidemic?'
As The Oregonian's award-winning 2004 investigation showed, Congress and federal authorities could have contained the meth epidemic, and still can. Unlike heroin and cocaine, which are distilled from plants grown across huge areas of Asia and South America, meth requires ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, two chemicals used to make asthma medications or cold and cough remedies such as Sudafed.

Only nine factories in the world manufacture the bulk of the world's supply of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. Tightening control over the supply of these chemicals has been pursued on and off over the past 18 years, but the regulations have contained loopholes which meth traders quickly exploited. Nevertheless, each time there have been new regulations it has made a real difference, as The Oregonian's investigation showed: the drug grew scarce and rehab centers saw fewer meth patients. What still has to happen is the implementation of sustained controls by government that could stop meth's continuing spread.”
What is the difference between the drug traffickers' super labs and amateur cooks' kitchen labs?
The cook process is different. The super labs cook process is more efficient because it involves a standardized line of equipment and chemicals. Super labs can produce 100,000-plus doses of meth; the end product is often diluted with additives before it hits the street.

Home labs are cobbled together from various kinds of equipment and chemicals and produce no more than 300 doses, or enough for the amateur cook and a few local sales. The majority of seized labs are home labs.

Graphics and details about meth labs in The Oregonian's meth series."
How much will state laws help?
Many states are now restricting purchases of over-the-counter pseudoephedrine-based cold and cough medicines.

They will likely reduce the number of amateur cooks making meth in their kitchens because it will reduce their access to pseudoephedrine-containing cold and cough medicines sold over the counter. Some of the states that have these laws have seen a drop-off in the number of seized home labs. But local authorities in many of these areas are now concerned that the Mexican meth trade is simply moving in and filling the supply gap.

A state-by-state comparison of meth's impact."
Read more:
"What's the international angle to the meth story?

What are the challenges in battling the Mexican cartels' meth trafficking?", etc.
posted by ericb at 1:36 PM on July 19, 2007


Wow, the DEA calls its newsletter the "Microgram". They might as well call it the DEA Toke Register or something.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:37 PM on July 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


Or be more tongue in cheek and call it the DEA Blotter Paper.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:37 PM on July 19, 2007 [3 favorites]


I vote for the DEA Zigzag.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:40 PM on July 19, 2007


thirteenkiller, I can't imagine that serious-ass meth producers are buying up their pseudoephedrine at the local pharmacy.

The Frontline episode shows the "kick-ass" quantities of ephedrine/preudoephedrine that get sold to the Mexican cartels (and others).
posted by ericb at 1:40 PM on July 19, 2007


I walked up and asked them for some Sudafed. I showed my ID. They gave it to me. Took about two minutes. Wasn't that hard.

I tried the same, but I was visiting from out-of-town, and CVS wasn't taking out-of-state ID at the time.

Phenylphedrine sucks. Basically, I've decided to maintain a private stash of pseudoephedrine so I don't have to worry about the issue next time I get sick.
posted by deanc at 1:41 PM on July 19, 2007


Well here's a solution. Next time you have a cold, just buy some cheap Mexican methamphetamine
posted by delmoi at 1:45 PM on July 19, 2007


Sometimes I think this War On Sudaphed might be a fiendishly clever Libertarian plot to undermine people's tolerance for the Government. Then sometimes I think it's a fiendishly clever plot by flat-out fascists to get Americans used to even bigger and more intrusive government, because obviously if we'll lay down for over-regulation of a simple OTC cold remedy we'll lay down for anything they want to do to us.
posted by davy at 1:46 PM on July 19, 2007


BTW -- National Geographic re-aired their program World's Most Dangerous Drug last night and will rebroadcast it this Saturday (July 21) at 7:00 p.m. (Eastern) -- "Lisa Ling goes inside this epidemic to expose why many are calling meth the World's Most Dangerous Drug."
posted by ericb at 1:50 PM on July 19, 2007


"a 'Dutch Boy with a Finger in the Dike' approach"

When I tried that she slapped me. Maybe because I was out of uniform?

(Thanks ericb for all the info that I for some reason couldn't find.)
posted by davy at 1:51 PM on July 19, 2007


So...so how are we going to make meth from now on?

Seriously. I want to know. Not being a junkie, I can't see the work-around.

Before the ID thing, I assume it was just hitting one store after the other. But -- what now? Rob drugstores at gunpoint? Get users to supply a box for a 20% discount on the finished product?
posted by kmennie at 1:53 PM on July 19, 2007


IMO it's more likely that Feinstein is a fascist than a libertarian.
posted by dbolll at 1:55 PM on July 19, 2007


Wow, the DEA calls its newsletter the "Microgram". They might as well call it the DEA Toke Register or something.

It's also great for letting you know what heroin smuggling methods the man is already aware of.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:01 PM on July 19, 2007


"So...so how are we going to make meth from now on?"

We're not: we're going to import it from Mexico. Didn't you see ericb's informative comments?

Maybe the anti-sudafed plotters are in the pay of a vast cartel of Mexican chemistry students.

And dbolll, I was down with the SF White Panthers recall campaign in '84, helping them perform small (perfectly legal) chores for a few days at their house in the Haight. I thought they took Establishment politics a bit too seriously, but they were nice people.
posted by davy at 2:01 PM on July 19, 2007


Mexicans Tighten Grip on Drugs
"From the lush mountain valleys of Peru to America's toughest streets, ruthless Mexican gangs are grabbing control of the multi-billion dollar cocaine and crystal meth smuggling trade.

...U.S. agents say Mexico's cartels are the main traffickers in almost all regions of the United States and increasingly active at every stage of the international business.

...About 90 percent of U.S.-bound cocaine now moves through Mexico.

...U.S. hopes that crop eradication in the Andes and more seizures would hit supply and force U.S prices up have proven wrong. Instead, prices dropped as coca crop yields jumped and cheaper drugs like crystal meth became more popular."
Mexican Meth Suppliers Meeting U.S. Demand
"Because of tougher U.S. laws, fewer people are cooking up batches of meth in dangerous homemade labs, but that doesn’t mean the supply has dried up. Eighty percent or more of America’s methamphetamine habit now comes from Mexico, law enforcement officials say.

...Records provided by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration show there were 7,347 meth lab reports nationwide last year, down from 12,619 in 2005 and 17,834 the year before.

But those labs have been replaced by superlabs in Mexico and by Mexican-run labs in some American border states, DEA spokesman Rusty Payne said. They are supplied with bulk shipments of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine originating mostly in China, India and Germany, he said.

‘The issue now is international chemical control,’ Payne said. ‘When these chemicals are diverted onto the illegal market, that is a global issue.’

Payne said the ‘growth of international drug trafficking organizations, specifically meth production, has created a huge amount of supply in the United States. They have sort of outdone the small toxic labs.’

…Mexican organizations have come in and filled [the] need,’ he said. ‘They are bringing in the product in very creative ways using the interstates in vehicles and trucks.’""
posted by ericb at 2:03 PM on July 19, 2007


IMO it's more likely that Feinstein is a fascist than a libertarian.

IMO it's more likely that neither of those lables apply and are hyperbolic.
posted by Pollomacho at 2:04 PM on July 19, 2007


Some of us hyperbolizers can spell "label."
posted by davy at 2:06 PM on July 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


IMO it's more likely that neither of those lables apply and are hyperbolic.

Hyperbole or no, I stand by the statement. Ms. Feinstein sure does love to tell her constituents what they can't do.

And davy, good on you for helping with the '84 recall effort.
posted by dbolll at 2:14 PM on July 19, 2007


This thread on AskMe is interesting. That question attracted a somewhat different population than the one that came here. While I sympathize with most of the posters here and think this is outrageous, the policy is unlikely to change. Read the AskMe thread. Many citizens support monitoring and a hell of a lot just don't care. Privacy is increasingly becoming something we need to justify. After all, "What are you trying to hide?".
posted by BigSky at 2:14 PM on July 19, 2007


NPR | April 2007: Mexican 'Ice' Replaces Home-Cooked Meth in U.S.
‘‘‘Ice’ is a crystallized form of meth also known as crystal. It is produced in relatively larger quantities in so-called ‘superlabs.’ Most are based in Mexico; they ship drugs to the United States by UPS, FEDEX and Greyhound bus, as well as in cars and trucks with secret compartments.

…The [Mexican meth] groups are very sophisticated,’ [Dave Barton, Midwest director for the federal government's High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area] says. ‘They generate huge amounts of profits and money. They have sophisticated communication links. They have family ties. And they are very, very organized in the way they manufacture and move their product.’

That product filled the gap in meth supply when ‘mom and pop’ labs began to diminish. It is also feeding ‘exploding meth populations’ in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, according to Barton.

[Mike] McDonald, [a drug-control detective in Jasper County, Mo warns that there's more money in the Mexican meth trade, along with organized cartels. Both indicate more potential for violence.

‘They can afford surveillance systems. They can afford body armor. They can afford weapons. And we're going to see more and more of that now,’ McDonald says.

There are signs already of a more violent trade, according to one old ‘mom and pop’ meth maker wistful for the old days. He's helping police now, so authorities asked NPR not to use his name.

‘If you came to me and got an eight ball of dope and didn't pay me, that's cool,’ the former meth producer said. ‘You knew you could never come back and get anything from me ever again. Now, if you get $50 worth of dope on credit and don't pay, they're subject to go… burn your car, or hurt you or your mom or your family. That's the difference.’

There's one other key difference. Addicts and treatment counselors say Mexican meth, when smoked in its purer and more potent forms, leads to quicker and deeper addiction. They say it's an addiction that is tougher to kick.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse agrees. In fact, meth addiction and meth-related drug treatment are on the rise, according to the National Drug Intelligence Center. And that increase coincides with the increased trafficking in Mexican meth.

‘It's out there. It's here to stay,’ said T.J. Stevens of southwest Missouri's Comet Drug Task Force. ‘It's going to take some act of God to make it change.’’’
posted by ericb at 2:17 PM on July 19, 2007


To legislate such invasive legislation... is there a meth lab on every block in the USA¿

What the hell, seems like everyone and their neighbours are making it, I'm sure./

So to catch 50 meth labs, these are the measures the legislators thought would address the issue¿ Since when did these legislators have PhD after their names, to determine the amount anyone should use also¿

I'd take the legislators' booze away, because clearly, it's inhibiting clear, reasonable thinking and their brains, had they any to begin with, are fried.

Welcome to conrol of the masses. The great unwashed.


What bothers me too is 'Officer Fuckface" ]no longer Officer Friendly[, who is there to uphold 'the law', but in doing so, intimidates the innocent and charges them with a crime, just because he can, or 'has a reasonable suspicion', only to let the courts deal with it or to notch a 'capture' on his gun belt. The cost to the charged of time and lawyers, for what....

The bloody harassment over what¿
Way to go.
posted by alicesshoe at 2:17 PM on July 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


Is the actual Sudafed brand stuff even made with pseudophedrine anymore? I could have sworn last time I was sick and my wife bought me some, it wasn't.
posted by Foosnark at 2:20 PM on July 19, 2007


"We'll fight them here, so that we don't have to fight them over there." Oh, err, uh ...
posted by ericb at 2:20 PM on July 19, 2007


This thread on AskMe is interesting. That question attracted a somewhat different population than the one that came here.

I have a feeling that the "what are you trying to hide?" crowd is acting as scolds from the standpoint of feeling relatively healthy. Those complaining are the ones with a headcold who want relief and don't want to put up with crap.

I got particularly bitchy about the issue when I realized that Phenylephrine wasn't doing anything for me in the midst of an ongoing cold/allergy attack that struck twice and lasted more than a month in both cases.

Which brings me to another point of the AskMe thread vs. this thread: the AskMe thread was posted in November. This thread is being posted right at the tail end of allergy season. The memories of having trouble getting pseudoephedrine are a lot fresher.
posted by deanc at 2:24 PM on July 19, 2007


Once again the United States outsources a valued commodity!
posted by ericb at 2:24 PM on July 19, 2007


Have any cold sufferers chosen not to buy the product because of these new regulations?

I understand the upset some folks have on principal, but if you really suffer so much that you are legitmately taking 6+ boxes of Sudafed a month, then get yourself to a doctor.

What I think alot of people don't realize is that if they have undiagnosed heart or circulatory problems (for example, high blood pressure, which millions of people have and aren't aware of), Sudafed and its ilk can be incredibly bad for you. Rather than mask the symptoms, see what you can do about addressing the core problem that you're having. Talk to your local allergist and/or internist.
posted by mstefan at 2:25 PM on July 19, 2007


Hey mstefan, we don't want medical advice from board-certified neurologists around here, let alone software developers. HTH! KTHXBI!
posted by davy at 2:30 PM on July 19, 2007


Some of us hyperbolizers can spell "label."

Oooh, snap! No, I can't spell. However I do know the difference in an elected official that believes that she can follow the laws established in her constitution's system of representative democracy and tell the people she represents what to do and someone who believes that representative democracy is inefficient and should be replaced by a moralist dictatorship. I don't exactly hear Feinstein promoting the dissolution of congress in order to replace it with a military state. She has yet to call for a "cleansing" of the government to my knowledge. So why Godwin a perfectly good discussion?
posted by Pollomacho at 2:31 PM on July 19, 2007


Actually dbolll, the S.F. White Panthers wouldn't let me join up because they said I was too flaky.
posted by davy at 2:32 PM on July 19, 2007


Pollomacho, I was KIDDING about that "conspiracy theory" (which only you bothered to take even half-seriously), and I was also KIDDING you about you're spelling. Chill, okay?

Perhaps the War On Sudaphed is yet another example of wel-intentioned do-gooderism that of course goes wrong.
posted by davy at 2:38 PM on July 19, 2007


Hey mstefan, we don't want medical advice from board-certified neurologists around here, let alone software developers.

I'm sorry, my bad. Please, everyone, ignore my suggestion and carry on. After all, cerebral infarct and congestive heart failure just sound scary. In fact, they're really kind of fun. And no more pesky allergy attacks to worry about!
posted by mstefan at 2:44 PM on July 19, 2007


You can still grow Ephedra Sinica (and others) legally. A tea from such a plant makes a fine replacement for psuedoephedrine as a cold remedy, perhaps even to better effect.

An acid/base extraction with good reagents and some knowledge can yield pure ephedrine, an easier precursor to work with than pseudoephedrine.

I've never done such an extraction or made meth and I've never taken meth (nor does it interest me in the slightest) but through a casual interest in chemistry and botany such knowledge has seeped into my pores. Mine and many others like me.

Provided America's literacy rate stays above 0% it's reasonable to assume such knowledge about such species and means is unexterminatable. As too are the species unexterminatable.

Particularly since there is a never ending demand for drugs of all types.

If buying a single box of pseudoephedrine gets you a drive by from the police, what does this knowledge (which with a tissue culture lab and some time would enable anyone with a highschool education to farm meth precursors) earn me?
posted by Matt Oneiros at 2:46 PM on July 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dear god. Is meth production really such a bad problem in the U.S? You'd think it were like child pornography, or kidnapped white people, or someone trying to sneak a shoe explosive onto an airplane. You know, real huge problems.
posted by JHarris at 2:50 PM on July 19, 2007 [4 favorites]


However I do know the difference in an elected official that believes that she can follow the laws established in her constitution's system of representative democracy and tell the people she represents what to do and someone who believes that representative democracy is inefficient and should be replaced by a moralist dictatorship.

Yes, Pollomacho, I agree that Feinstein is probably neither a fascist nor a libertarian. But when choosing from a binary set of those two options, I suspect that even you would agree that she is closer to fascist, which is what I said.

Besides, even if she were a true fascist, she's not in a position yet to topple the government. She probably needs to condition the masses further into accepting less freedom. Although with so many people who buy in to the "if you're not doing anything wrong, why should you care?" position, we may be almost ready.
posted by dbolll at 3:20 PM on July 19, 2007


...if you really suffer so much that you are legitmately [sic] taking 6+ boxes of Sudafed a month, then get yourself to a doctor.

I had surgery to help clear my sinuses, and I've been on dozens of different medication combinations with the help of my doctor. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is as good as 12-hour Sudafed. If I get a cold on top of my allergies, it's the only thing that will allow me to actually get some sleep. During ragweed season (i.e. most of the summer), I certainly go right up to the monthly limit.

There is no doubt in my mind that my consumption levels would be suspicious in a situation like the one in the OP. Add that on top of the hassle of procuring my medicine, the opportunity cost of the time I spend in lines at the pharmacy each month, and perhaps you can see why this rule (and the idea of "MethCheck") would make people like me pretty angry.
posted by gemmy at 4:01 PM on July 19, 2007


thirteenkiller writes "Probably there are better things to get all whinybaby about."

I tend to get "whiny" about protecting my rights. If you trample them, I will whine and then some.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:07 PM on July 19, 2007


bitmage, we need to talk.
posted by [more inside] at 4:09 PM on July 19, 2007


mstefan writes "I understand the upset some folks have on principal, but if you really suffer so much that you are legitmately taking 6+ boxes of Sudafed a month, then get yourself to a doctor."

That's really beside the point though, isn't it? The law isn't about taking too much Sudafed for sinuses. The invasion of privacy is really at issue.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:09 PM on July 19, 2007


I wonder by what legal authority a cop can question someone based on a legal purchase. Can she or anyone else refuse to answer? What if someone bought them legitimately, within the legal limit, but wound up having possession of more--you know, someone else in the house had bought some, taking them over some unknown limit?
This police crap is driving me crazy, almost as much as the NY Times story last week that casually reported that border police had gotten on a train in Rochester, NY, and asked everyone in one car their citizenship status. By what authority?? And do people have to answer? No one seems to know but it sure pisses me off that we even hav to have this conversation.
posted by etaoin at 4:17 PM on July 19, 2007


But -- what now? Rob drugstores at gunpoint?

Nah ... just ram the pharmacy and steal 'the goods':
Car Rams Whittier Pharmacy, Thieves Steal Meth Ingredients

"Thieves rammed a stolen car through the glass doors of a closed pharmacy in Whittier overnight. They left the car but got away with a large quantity of pseudoephedrine, a cold medicine used to manufacture methamphetamine.

The brazen theft was similar to one the previous day at a CVS in Anaheim.

No prescription drugs were taken.

Police say in each case two thieves were captured on the store's security cameras, but it's still not clear if it was the same people at both stores."
posted by ericb at 4:38 PM on July 19, 2007


delmoi: "Have any cold sufferers chosen not to buy the product because of these new regulations?"

*raises hand*

Last time I went to get me some Claratin (several months ago now), the lady made me sign and show my ID like every other time, and I've tolerated this since it started but I find it offensive and embarrassing (especially when there's a long line), and then she said the computer was telling her I had made my previous purchase too recently. She couldn't sell to me again so soon. I still had a little left of my previous box, but wanted another (ONE) box because when I anticipated being out it'd be in the middle of the work week, and more difficult for me to get around to buying some.

It wasn't just the fact she wouldn't let me buy it when I wanted to buy it, but she looked at me as if I were a criminal. As if I were trying to trick her or something. I just wanted my effin' medicine.

So now I minimize my time outside more, am more careful to avoid foods that may be agravating my sinuses, and when the allergies become unbareable, I use a lot of DayQuil & NyQuil. Sometimes the side effects are unpleasant, but it almost does the job that Maximum Strength Allergy Sinus Tylenol (my original choice back before the stupid drug war began to affect my allergies) fixed with no side effects.

So far as I'm concerned we lost the war on drugs, and my nose is a casualty.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:49 PM on July 19, 2007


Can she or anyone else refuse to answer?

Yep.

Know Your Rights: What to Do If You're Stopped by the Police
"It's not a crime to refuse to answer questions, but refusing to answer can make the police suspicious about you....Police may 'pat-down' your clothing if they suspect a concealed weapon. Don't physically resist, but make it clear that you don't consent to any further search....Ask if you are under arrest. If you are, you have a right to know why....Don't bad-mouth the police officer or run away, even if you believe what is happening is unreasonable. That could lead to your arrest....If the police knock and ask to enter your home, you don't have to admit them unless they have a warrant signed by a judge...."
There are likely to be lawsuits by civil liberties groups challenging this MethCheck approach as regards to 'probable cause,' 'reasonable suspicion' and legal 'search-and-seizure' standards and provisions.

As per the OP's first link:
"People's health information — it's intimate, it's personal, it's something people desperately want to keep private," said Beth Wilson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Kentucky. "For law enforcement to do an investigation, there must be a reasonable suspicion. I'm not sure just the amount of medication justifies that."
posted by ericb at 4:52 PM on July 19, 2007


thehmsbeagle writes '...who needs SIX BOXES OF SUDAFED a month?'

Who thinks my need for legitimate medication is anyone's business but my own?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:54 PM on July 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


ericb writes 'Thieves rammed a stolen car through the glass doors of a closed pharmacy in Whittier overnight. They left the car but got away with a large quantity of pseudoephedrine, a cold medicine used to manufacture methamphetamine.

No prescription drugs were taken."


So they took the pseudoephedrine, and left the MST, the dexedrine, the dilaudid, the oyxcontin behind?

These people need to feature on the first episode of America's Dumbest Drugstore Cowboys?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:06 PM on July 19, 2007


If laws like this can be made in America, it seems the notion of a bicameral legislature with checks and balances has well and truly been jettisoned out the fucking window.
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:11 PM on July 19, 2007


PeterMcDermott writes "Who thinks my need for legitimate medication is anyone's business but my own?"

Of course it is, but there is also the business of knowing why somebody is buying quantities that wouldn't be consumed by a normal human being even if he took twice the maximum lethal amount per day , while not being a pharmacist. Maybe you are infecting our precious bodily fluids, we and this angry stupid mob I have convinced you are a communist republitard would like to talk to you.

Or we reach an agreement and I get a cut of your freedom.
posted by elpapacito at 5:19 PM on July 19, 2007


There is no such thing as an unhackable system. That's in the world of the flesh as well as the world of ones and zeroes. Simply bribe, or outright buy the loyaties of, members of both sides of the legislature. Get a couple judges under your heel for good measure, and sleep soundly at night while your whims wrestle away the rights and priviledges of complete strangers.

Whatever your interests are, they must be more important than a few random individuals, because you represent a corporation. Hundreds of thousands of people depend on you. To the end justifies your means.

Corporate Oligarchy. *achoo!* Excuse me. I'm allergic. =)
posted by ZachsMind at 5:28 PM on July 19, 2007


I have a question: as one of the aforementioned Oregonians without health insurance, is it possible to buy pseudoephedrine products in other states? I was planning on stocking up the next time I went to California, but now I'm fearing the pharmacies will see an out-of-state license and shoot on sight.
posted by brookedel at 5:29 PM on July 19, 2007


"I have a feeling that the "what are you trying to hide?" crowd is acting as scolds from the standpoint of feeling relatively healthy. Those complaining are the ones with a headcold who want relief and don't want to put up with crap."

deanc,

Agreed. And when it comes to changing the law only the ones who would benefit from the medicine are going to be motivated to do anything. And that number is small. A large number of people who hear that sufferers of head colds are inconvenienced and they don't appreciate being monitored by law enforcement, are going to shrug in response. And when they are told this is "a valuable tool in the battle against meth producers" will urge law enforcement forward and not give a damn about other citizen's privacy. It simply isn't a priority.
posted by BigSky at 5:41 PM on July 19, 2007


Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I've been asked by the President Himself to explain the rationale behind our policy towards so-called "privacy".

As you are now well aware, purchases at local stores may be made with ration coupons, but must be retroactively justified and approved by your local Citizen's Tribunal within 30 days of purchase.

Over the past few years, many concerned citizens have written me, asking why such measures are now needed to protect our Republic. The short answer, of course, that the advent of Terrorism and street drugs have turned everyday household items into potential instruments of death.

There is another, more fundamental reason, however. The very concept of "privacy" must be destroyed in our minds if this Great Republic is to ever survive the 22nd century. Privacy is the enemy of Law & Order, the enemy of The People.

"Privacy" says that criminals and pre-criminals have the "right" to have their nefarious activities hidden from the watchful eye of the State. "Privacy" says that people have legitimate reasons to hide their thoughts, purchases and reproductive activities from Citizen Tribunals.

Of course, such an impulse to hide is inherently anti-social. But why would any misguided Citizens choose to hide such things in the first place? "Because they have something to hide!" the Righteous cry out.

Exactly right, Citizen. Because they have something to hide.

Let the world know that in this Republic, all citizens in good standing have nothing to hide. All of our thoughts and deeds flow in perfect harmony with the Will of Society. We live our lives freely in the open, under the watchful and benevolent gaze of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Our President and Our State.

It was truly a gift from the Lord that the Old Republic was vanquished and so quickly replaced by our own. The concept of Privacy is the last, dying vestige of that Old Republic, and good riddance to it all!

For further information about our anti-privacy policy, please contact a Bloc Warden at your local prayer meeting this Thursday. As always, suspicious persons or those who seem irrationally dedicated to "privacy" must be reported to your Citizen's Tribunal or the DHS. Failure to report equals conspiracy under the law.

Blessings,
Jackson T. Monroe, DHS
posted by Avenger at 5:43 PM on July 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


Ah, anybody remember what killed America?

That's right - America died of fear.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 5:57 PM on July 19, 2007 [4 favorites]


brookedel writes "have a question: as one of the aforementioned Oregonians without health insurance, is it possible to buy pseudoephedrine products in other states? I was planning on stocking up the next time I went to California, but now I'm fearing the pharmacies will see an out-of-state license and shoot on sight."

I recently bought 2 boxes in Vancouver, Washington with no problems.
posted by peep at 6:27 PM on July 19, 2007


dersins writes "It basically means that to get an effective decongestant, you have to have health insurance."

That sucks, I'd missed the interaction.

uncleozzy writes "What's the status of pseudoephedrine in the EU? Can I bring a few boxes of das Sudafed home from Germany?"

I don't know about Germany but it's about as hard to buy in Canada as aspirin.

pantsonfire writes "What's to stop meth makers from creating their own pseudoephedrine? According to the Wikipedia, manufacture starts by fermenting dextrose with a special strain of yeast. It doesn't seem all that complicated."

My understanding is that special strain is a trade secret, not something you can buy.
posted by Mitheral at 6:57 PM on July 19, 2007


pseudoephedrine is abusable on it's own if mixed with ritalin or other stims, particularly snorted.

I did this a few times, years ago. I also used to occasionally use pseudoephedrine as a cheap substitute for ritalin.

About buying sudafed in Germany: I can't remember...I THINK it needed a prescription. They don't have big drugstores like in North America -- they have little Apothekes, with virtually everything behind the counter, prescription or not. Also, everything is REALLY expensive.
posted by lastobelus at 8:08 PM on July 19, 2007


The sad thing is that sopme hillrod with a homebrew lab gets more media attention than the american corporations (importers) who are suppliers to the drug cartels in Mexico.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 8:35 PM on July 19, 2007


"What's the status of pseudoephedrine in the EU? Can I bring a few boxes of das Sudafed home from Germany?"

I'd say no problem -- but, err - wait ...
Hitler's Drugged Soldiers.

Hitler and Meth.
Godwin for the WIN!!!

Oh -- and 'by the by' -- Kamikaze Pilots and Meth.
posted by ericb at 8:48 PM on July 19, 2007


I have a question: as one of the aforementioned Oregonians without health insurance, is it possible to buy pseudoephedrine products in other states? I was planning on stocking up the next time I went to California, but now I'm fearing the pharmacies will see an out-of-state license and shoot on sight.

It sounds like you can't exactly "stock up" since there are daily and monthly limits.
posted by delmoi at 9:01 PM on July 19, 2007


Who thinks my need for legitimate medication is anyone's business but my own?

Keep in mind that all filled prescriptions are kept in a national database and tracked, as well.
posted by deanc at 9:17 PM on July 19, 2007


Great. Now I can be expecting the fuzz to be busting down my door any minute. I just asked if I could buy two boxes of Sudafed® at Walgreens while I was there to pick up my prescriptions. Instead of telling me no, the girl at the counter said "lets try!" and it wouldn't take the second one.

No doubt, so the computer could flag me.

Really, Officer, I just wanted two boxes so I could have a months supply just like my regular prescriptions. No, I'm not making meth, I just don't want to go to the drug store every two weeks. Is that so wrong? Wait, where are you taking me?

*sigh*

A coworker was all stuffed up because of allergies, and I was hesitant to give her one of my precious, precious Sudafed® pills because that would mean one day sooner I'd have to go back. Fucking unbureaucratic, nanny state nonsense.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 9:45 PM on July 19, 2007


[insert clever name here]: No, it's really quite bureaucratic. And ridiculous.
posted by wierdo at 10:09 PM on July 19, 2007


There's an AP story out tonight that says Mexico is about to require prescriptions for the Sudafed and other products. Party's over!

Thanks for the legal explanation above.
posted by etaoin at 10:27 PM on July 19, 2007


I work in a pharmacy so I'm getting a real kick out of these replies...

No really, I do work in a pharmacy. In South St. Louis county. Where every 4th house is probably a meth op.

Please don't yell at me when I can't sell you more than one box of Sudafed or it's generic equivalent. I do realize that the procedure is ridiculous. This is what happens when someone buys Sudafed:

1. Customer asks for Sudafed
2. I tell them what we have in stock- generic, brand, strength price
3. Customer decides
4. I scan the box at the register. PSE can only be bought at the pharmacy register
5. Register brings up a dialog box stating only one box can be purchased at a time. I am unable to scan more than one.
6. I apologize and ask for the driver's license. If you're a cool dude, sometimes we make jokes about Missouri and tweakers.
7. I write down the exact purchase you made, the number of tablets, the strength, your name and address, and time and date of sale. I ask you to sign it.
8. You pay, I hand you the Sudafed, and you go on your merry way.

Yelling at me does not change the policy. I don't want to get fired for not following it, and god knows if I don't follow it, that will invoke a world of DEA and State Police shit upon our pharmacy. I like my coworkers and I do need this part time job. Understand, that I have to do this and I'm not looking at you like a criminal. I think it's just as retarded, but every once in a while, and it is rare, we do get some douche who gives us a license that is obviously not theirs or drops a handful of receipts from other pharmacies when digging out 10.00 from their wallet.

If you do want to look at getting a prescription for something similar so you don't have to go through this bs, then I highly recommend Guaifenex-PSE. It's the bomb diggity.

Now, the people that sit on the bench waiting for us to open at 9am with a prescription for Oxycontin from a certain St. Louis area doctor, yeah, I'm thinking 'what's up, junkie?'.

Also, you can only buy Prilosec at the pharmacy. We keep that stuff out of general merchandise because it walks.
posted by pieoverdone at 10:32 PM on July 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is Sudafed addictive?

I'd be damned cautious in messing with my body's chemical systems with unprescribed medicine. Heck, I'm cautious even when it is prescribed.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:37 PM on July 19, 2007


ericb writes "Thieves rammed a stolen car through the glass doors of a closed pharmacy in Whittier overnight. They left the car but got away with a large quantity of pseudoephedrine, a cold medicine used to manufacture methamphetamine.

No prescription drugs were taken.
"

Peter McD responded: "So they took the pseudoephedrine, and left the MST, the dexedrine, the dilaudid, the oyxcontin behind?"

Obviously people with very low IQs. If I went that far to score some drugs I'd want some GOOD ones. Maybe I was spoiled in the wilder & freer '70s, but crappy home-brewed crank ain't worth bothering with (not even for free).

Or maybe their families had very stuffy noses and they'd already exceeded their monthly quota?
posted by davy at 10:38 PM on July 19, 2007


"Is Sudafed addictive?"

I've never heard of a Sudafed addict, and in all my decades of taking the stuff the only time I've ever had a craving for it is when I had a very very stuffy nose. I think it's about as addictive as aspirin or vitamin E. That's why they have to process it into meth to get people hooked.

Pseudoephedrine can be mildly stimulating, especially if you mix it with other stimulants (like caffeine) and/or if you're naturally hyper, antsy, or prone to anxiety fits; I don't exactly enjoy the stuff, I experience the slight stimulation as unpleasant anxiety (unlike say the "good vibes" I got the few times I snorted coke), but if that's the only "stimulant" I'm taking it won't keep me awake -- and it does do what it's sold for. (I've found it's also good for producing penile numbness and impotence, a.k.a. "crystal dick," way out of proportion to the dosage or the decongesting.)
posted by davy at 10:58 PM on July 19, 2007


MrMoonPie: I pretty much have to take off work to get sudafed in my area.

Look around. The CVS at 12th and Penn SE still had products with real pseudoephedrine stocked on the shelves. They were randomly mixed in with the phenylephrine products. I was happy and thought that the apathy of retail workers was a wonderful thing.

deanc: Phenylphedrine sucks. Basically, I've decided to maintain a private stash of pseudoephedrine so I don't have to worry about the issue next time I get sick.

That's where it starts, but pretty soon you'll be dealing from that private stash. The line between user and dealer is always a fuzzy one.

etaoin: This police crap is driving me crazy, almost as much as the NY Times story last week that casually reported that border police had gotten on a train in Rochester, NY, and asked everyone in one car their citizenship status. By what authority?? And do people have to answer?

They can ask all they want: May I see you're ID? Can I search your car? It's up to the informed citizen to know when they can refuse a request like this. One time, and I swear this story is true, a Fairfax County police officer asked if he could search my bag for "nuclear or chemical weapons" before the presidential motorcade drove past. I knew he was free to ask me about this but could not compel me to agree to such a search so I put my hands on my hips and laughed in his face ("me, carrying nuclear weapons, hahahaa!") until he walked away to harass the next person at the bus stop. They can ask, threaten, and harass, but if you stand up for yourself you can avoid the hassle (I am white, middle-aged, and nicely dressed; YMMV if you are not any of these).

Nicely done Avenger. Still, oral birth control is more difficult to get in the US than pseudoephedrine. And while a head cold is awful, an unexpected pregnancy is much worse. If I was going to ram my car into a pharmacy, I'd grab a year's supply of her Ortho TriCyclen before I'd touch the Sudafed.
posted by peeedro at 12:11 AM on July 20, 2007


Just thinking about it is making my ear hurt right now.

Tragic accident?

Perhaps we should solve the problem by not getting sick. Just putting it out there, but have you all really tried not to get sick, or allergic? Thought so.
posted by oxford blue at 12:37 AM on July 20, 2007


the NY Times story last week that casually reported that border police had gotten on a train in Rochester, NY, and asked everyone in one car their citizenship status.

We're doing that here, too? Last summer, I was traveling through Greece, and the police flagged down a bus I was traveling on, boarded it, and picked out people and asked them to produce their papers. At that moment, I was glad that I was an American and didn't live in a country where the authorities barked "papers, please!" wherever you went. It's a shame to realize that I can't feel that bit of pride in my home country, anymore.
posted by deanc at 6:38 AM on July 20, 2007


Ihre ausweis, bitte!
posted by mstefan at 7:17 AM on July 20, 2007


Just putting it out there, but have you all really tried not to get sick, or allergic?

Yes. Not recommended.
posted by oats at 1:32 PM on July 20, 2007


I'm guessing the sudafed abuse that's rampant in the National Hockey League will not be affected- as they probably get theirs in Canada.
posted by wfc123 at 3:36 PM on July 20, 2007


in all my decades of taking the stuff the only time I've ever had a craving for it is when I had a very very stuffy nose

Addiction does not equal craving.

Physical addiction would be indicated by one's nose becoming runny or stuffy upon ceasing to continue with Sudafed. IOW, one can't breathe normally without being doped up on Sudafed.

Some nasal sprays are addictive in this fashion.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:31 PM on July 20, 2007


Some nasal sprays are addictive in this fashion.

Yep.

Mayo Clinic: Nasal Spray 'Addiction': Are You Hooked?
"You're not actually 'addicted' to the ingredients in decongestant nasal sprays as much as you are to what the ingredients do — which is clear your nasal passages. Even so, this is not a true addiction...."
A friend had to be weaned off of Afrin.
posted by ericb at 7:40 PM on July 20, 2007


Pollomacho, I was KIDDING about that "conspiracy theory" (which only you bothered to take even half-seriously), and I was also KIDDING you about you're spelling. Chill, okay?

I can't chill. At least not until I come down off this kick-ass batch of anhydrous tank sludge!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:34 PM on July 23, 2007


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