Suspect Sniffles

Pseudoephedrine interdiction, the other shoe drops.

Google alerts dropped this in my inbox;

Other View: Law doesn't stop meth

At least one government effort to curb methamphetamine production seems to have been a bust.

The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 ... makes it more difficult to purchase common, non-prescription cold medication containing pseudoephedrine.

Pseudoephedrine is the main ingredient used in the manufacture of meth. So, instead of simply purchasing drugs like Sudafed over the counter as in the past, everyone must now get them from behind the counter, usually from a pharmacist.

... It turns out, however, that it probably was all for nothing. A study published in the March issue of the American Economic Review found that restricting pseudoephedrine had only a temporary effect on the meth trade.

Yet, the government continues to track cold and allergy sufferers as if everyone with the sniffles is a potential criminal, while meth manufacturers go about their business as usual.

The Decatur Daily, Ala.

(from the Traverse City Record-Eagle website)

It's listed as an opinion piece, but it's based on an evidence based indictment of the entire drug war. If you want to pay $7.50 you can download the study from The American Economic Review website.

Here's the abstract;
In mid-1995, a government effort to reduce the supply of methamphetamine precursors successfully disrupted the methamphetamine market and interrupted a trajectory of increasing usage. The price of methamphetamine tripled and purity declined from 90 percent to 20 percent. Simultaneously, amphetaminerelated hospital and treatment admissions dropped 50 percent and 35 percent, respectively. Methamphetamine use among arrestees declined 55 percent. Although felony methamphetamine arrests fell 50 percent, there is no evidence of substantial reductions in property or violent crime. The impact was largely temporary. The price returned to its original level within four months; purity, hospital admissions, treatment admissions, and arrests approached preintervention levels within eighteen months.

(emphasis added)
So, like all attempts to curb demand by targeting supply, this effort has simply lead to alternative methods of getting meth to the people who want it.

How long are we going to throw away billions (perhaps even trillions) of dollars trying to keep people from pursuing what they see as 'happiness'?

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