War on Meth

Illegal drugs makes it harder to ease allergies

Crystal Meth is one of the hot new street drugs, and its use is spreading like wildfire. Unfortunately, almost anyone can cook up their own batch of this noxious substance, as long as they can get their hands on pseudoephedrine - a common ingredient in cold and allergy medications.

Pseudoephedrine is the decongestant ingredient found in literally hundreds of prescription and over-the-counter cold treatments and allergy products that contain a combination of decongestants, antihistamines and analgesics, depending on what symptoms the product targets.

Since the production and use of crystal meth is so rampant, new limits have been imposed which affect over-the-counter cold and allergy products that contain pseudoephedrine. Federal law will require items that contain pseudoephedrine be kept behind a counter or in a locked safe. In addition, there will be limits to the amount of these products that you can buy. A final component of the new law will require you to show photo ID and sign a log book, which will allow proper monitoring of the monthly limit of 9 grams of pseudoephedrine. The limit at 9 grams equals roughly 300 tablets of most medications and shouldn’t be a hardship for any legitimate allergy sufferer.

The state of Nevada had already begun limiting sales of pseudoephedrine products to 3 grams per transaction back in April 2004. In fact, many vendors have already been storing pseudoephedrine behind the counter, so this move shouldn’t surprise customers in the State of Nevada. 

The new Federal law authorizes $100 million in grants to state and local governments in order to combat meth and its use. The money has been given to state governments to use as they see fit. An additional $20 million will go specifically to drug-endangered children teams, which include a cooperation of law enforcement, child social services, medical professionals and prosecutors working together to stop meth usage.

Police and law enforcement officials say this is a positive step, but they also admit that restricting the sales of pseudoephedrine doesn’t completely address the problem of meth use. While this initiative will reduce the ability of US “labs” to make meth, there is still an ongoing problem with meth being shipped illegally into the country in huge quantities from Mexico.

What products contain pseudoephedrine? You can always find out by asking your pharmacist.

April 8, 2006
Reno Gazette-Journal

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