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     Meth use not just rural problem. What to do about Sudafed?
    Opinion: Politics
    The methamphetamine lab problem in my home state is not just confined to the rural areas. An article from our metropolitan newspaper summarizes what could best have been called "The end of a busy 2002" in our neighborhood.

    Apparent meth lab found at fire scene
    Published on January 3, 2003

    ...police and fire officials responded to a house fire Thursday night and found what police said appeared to be a methamphetamine lab.

    A neighbor reported seeing a man on fire in the front yard, but officials did not find any burn victims when they arrived. Police said they checked area hospitals but hadn't turned up anything by early today.

    Authorities were called [at] 9:12 p.m.

    The residence named in the article is right across the street from my home. I live here with my wife and small children. There had been heavy traffic at all hours visiting that house during 2002. It was a most interesting collection of cars and characters and strange behavior. The police noted our concerns and were doubtless aware that business was being conducted at the house. After that fire, the traffic and visits ceased. The newspaper later reported that not enough evidence was found to truly label the house a "meth lab"

    These methamphetamine producers are stealing cases of Sudafed from the grocery store loading docks before they even reach the shelves. The local grocer store pharmacy is unable to keep Sudafed in stock. Even when it does reach the shelves, a retail point of sale quantity restriction will not stem the tide. Meth producers will steal it, or buy it in quantities of 2 all over town. In the area around our regional indoor mall, one person could buy two packages of Sudafed at five different pharmacy retailers without attracting attention. Another person could steal what remained from the stores that do not keep it behind the pharmacy counter.

    I find Pseudoephedrine to be a very effective cold remedy. I would hate to for it to be more difficult to obtain for legitimate use. However, it is being so badly misused that the costs outweigh the benefits.

    Our lawmakers opinion is that Pseudoephedrine products should be banned from over-the-counter sales altogether. I have no hope that such a drastic measure would halt the purchases of the product for misuse. It may curb retail shoplifting.

    I would gladly live without the convenience of being able to purchase Sudafed without a prescription. That scenario seems unlikely. Also, much of the theft occurs before the product even hits the shelves. Everyone who touches the Sudafed from dock workers to shelf stockers has a chance to steal the substance.

    Another problem is that Sudafed provides only one (Pseudoephedrine) of the three main ingredients. Another common ingredient is iodine tincture. This is available by the gallon from farm supply stores. Should that be regulated and watched too? It is purchased to use in manufacturing pure iodine crystals. How about nabbing anyone buying more than one box of book matches at a time for the red phosphorus from the striker pads? Red devil Lye? Muriatic acid for driveways? Kids that did not even take high school chemistry are all of a sudden following recipes and extracting pure chemical compounds from retail mixtures.

    Still pseudoephedrine seems to be the only ingredient that cannot be substituted.
    Posted on Sunday, February 20, 2005 @ 19:58:05 UTC by BB
    "Meth use not just rural problem. What to do about Sudafed?" | Login/Create an Account | 1 comment
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    Target Stores To move pseudoephedrine behind pharmacy counter (Score: 1)
    by BB on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 @ 15:15:15 UTC
    (User Info )
    According to this Article in the Pioneer Press []:

    Target store customers across the country will have to ask pharmacists for cold pills and other pseudoephedrine-containing products, a move Target announced Monday in an effort at keeping needed chemicals out of meth-makers' hands.

    At the state Capitol, where similar proposals are under consideration, officials hailed the announcement as a bold move in the fight against methamphetamine.

    My suspicion is that more was being shoplifted than purchased. Now that it is behind the counter, it can still be purchased without raising suspicion. It will still be stolen in quanity long before it reaches the pharmacy counter.

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