The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

9 January 2005

Another fine meth

Last April, Oklahoma imposed limits on over-the-counter tablets containing pseudoephedrine, limiting the amount any one buyer can purchase to nine grams in thirty days and requiring pharmacies (the only legal outlets in the state for them) to obtain photo IDs and signatures. The idea, of course, was to put a dent in the state's methamphetamine production — pseudoephedrine is the primary ingredient in meth — and by all accounts it has worked fairly well.

"Yeah," you say, "they'll just drive out of state to get the stuff." And they're doing exactly that, leading other states in the region to ponder whether they should adopt similar restrictions. Governor Henry, of course, thinks they should:

Nationwide success in stopping the methamphetamine epidemic will come from a combined effort of states limiting access to key ingredients. That is why laws similar to Oklahoma's hold such tremendous potential in stamping out this scourge.

A second path suggests itself: replacing the tablets with liquids and gelcaps, from which pseudoephedrine is not so easily isolated. The Oklahoma statute, in fact, does not mandate the same restrictions on liquids and gels, though pharmacies might reasonably impose the restrictions themselves, as a matter of simplifying inventory control, or as a means of avoiding customer confusion: "How come you have Sudafed gelcaps on the shelf, but I have to sign for the tablets?" Some of us who have certain reservations about the War On [some] Drugs might find this approach a bit more palatable than shoving the entire class of products onto Schedule V.

Posted at 10:50 AM to Soonerland

The Sudafed I use is gelcaps, but I still wasn't able to get them at Publix the last time I tried (and I do mean last) because they were neither on the shelf nor behind the counter. No signature requirement for the regular pills I gather, just extra hassle. But still...

Kroger and Wal-Mart haven't been a problem.

Posted by: McGehee at 12:35 PM on 9 January 2005

Yeah, Oklahoma's meth laws drove them to places like....Arkansas, which only limits the amount purchased at once (3 pkgs). A stupid law, that only resulted in tweakers/cookers going to multiple stores for the necessary supplies. But there's been promises by our legislators of an upcoming new law based on Oklahoma's.

I certainly hope so, though I'd much rather see them return such products to prescription-only.

Posted by: rita at 8:48 AM on 10 January 2005