Another Stupid Idea from Our Politicians
Megan Rudebeck at the Adam Smith Institute notes that a new bill designed to reduce the production of methamphetimines is not only going to be an annoyance for legitimate consumers, but also probably not going to work. Methamphetimine can be produced using large amounts of cold remedies that contain psuedoephedrine. And methamphetimines is becoming an increasing problem in many states. So naturally the political solution is to restrict the sale of cold medicines that contain psuedoephedrine.
Under the measure, remedies like Sudafed would be require signing a sheet and showing your driver’s license. Buyers would be restricted to three boxes a month, spread over different days.
But let’s be honest. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and this legislation will probably do very little to actually curb meth production. The people that make and use the drug are already lawbreakers, who will probably do whatever they need to in order to get the ingredients they need.
So, it becomes difficult to purchase cold remedies with psuedoephedrine legitimatel in the U.S., so what will the criminals do who produce methamphetimines? Purchase it illegally? Naw, that would be against the law and these criminals wouldn’t want to become crimi…oh…wait…nevermind.
Here are some obvious results of this legislation (assuming it actually works as it is claimed to–heroic assumption):
- Methamphetimine manufacturers smuggle in cold remedies from Mexico and Canada.
- Other criminals steal shipments of cold remedies to sell to methamphetimine makers.
- Methamphetimine manufacturers find (illegal) sources of psuedoephedrine.
- Methamphetimine manufacturers move their manufacturing to Mexico and/or Canada (goodness even more manufacturing jobs lost to outsourcing).
In short, not much will likely happen to the supply of methamphetimines unless these additional issues are addressed.
On top of that Megan also notes this tidbit of information,
A New York Times report on the measure noted that Food and Drug Administration officials argued that most meth was imported anyway. The article also cites a Congressional study from 1995 that found that BTC programs in other countries failed to make a significant impact on access to a drug.
So, in the end, this legislation will do very little to nothing to address the methamphetimine problem and will make purchasing cold remedies harder for the consumers with legitimate needs. Brilliant.