Monday, September 26, 2005

Cold medicine restrictions doesn't stop meth use

The Oregonian reportson a story that should give our Beltway legislators an inkling of how ineffective restricting the sale of cold medicine is in stopping meth use. Looking at Oklahoma, where the sales of the formerly OTC drug has been restricted to behind the pharmaceutical counter, it did result in diminishing the number of home labs but was immediately countered by an increase in imported meth from Mexico and a rise in property crimes related to meth addicts.

"We took away their production," said Tom Cunningham, task force coordinator for the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council. "That didn't do anything for their addiction."

Two decades of government effort have failed to curb the availability of meth. A new analysis of federal data by The Oregonian shows that the drug's potency has hit levels not seen in a decade. Rising purity indicates the supply of meth is growing, and it means a $25 bag of meth will last a user longer.
While it's true that fewer labs are a good result in terms of public safety, for all practical purposes the public is still endangered by the addicts who now have to pay more for the drug and are forced into crime themselves in order to finance their fix. Furthermore, the organized criminals operating mega-labs outside the country are a ruthless lot and are unstoppable.

Our government is still playing their version of Whack-a-mole drug policy. Eliminating one source of the drug, only causes new and in this case, greater problems. Once again, the only fiscally responsible and socially sensible plan would be to legalize the drug, give it to the addicts and offer more treatment programs to get them off the drug.


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