Saturday, April 30, 2005

So, should there be a conscience clause for pharmacists to sell pseudoephedrine to meth labs? 

Well, why not?

From an OpEd by Dianne Feinstein (D) and Jim Talent (R) in WaPo:

We applaud the recent moves by Target, Wal-Mart, Albertson's, Longs Drugs and Rite Aid to make medicines containing pseudoephedrine less accessible. But they will not by themselves shut down the thousands of meth labs that have sprung up across the country. That's why it is critical that all retailers be required to limit access to cold medicines containing this ingredient.

Why is this so important? Because pseudoephedrine -- the active ingredient in most cold medicines -- is being used to brew up batches of meth in basements, cars and motel rooms across the country. The fact that it's relatively easy to make meth is one of the reasons the drug has migrated from California and the West to the rest of the nation.

Meth is cheap, accessible and potent. It can be purchased for as little as $20 a dose. Its effects on users range from the bizarre to the homicidal. And cooking meth is often as simple as a trip to the local store.

Meth cooks will buy out a store's supply of cold medicine. They will go from store to store to store and buy as much of it as they can afford. Then they go home, extract the pseudoephedrine, mix it with battery acid and other poisons, and cook up a batch of meth for sale or for their personal use.

So what can we do to solve this problem?

The answer is clear: Follow the Oklahoma model. Oklahoma last year passed legislation requiring that cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine be moved behind the pharmacy counter. The result: an 80 percent drop in the number of meth labs seized. This law works. We should copy it.

Twelve states have done just that. Tennessee and Iowa, for example, have passed new laws in the past few months mandating that cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine be put behind the counter. Another 30 states are considering similar legislation.

But new state laws and the voluntary actions of retailers are not enough. That's why we're working together to make the Oklahoma law national.
(via WaPo)

Meth is nasty stuff; my family lost a cousin to it. And it's a plague in the Red States. So, this bi-partisan move by Feinstein is good for families, good for the country, and smart politics too. (Funny more Dems on the red/ blue divide aren't co-sponsoring this bill.)

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