Don’t Treat Your Allergies in the Quad Cities

Tim Naveau is a criminal now and all that he did was buy some allergy medicine for himself and for his son. You see, everyday Tim takes one Claritin-D tablet which helps him with his allergies. His son also suffers from allergies as well, and since he can’t buy Claritin-D legally, his father bought it for him. However, buying that many tablets put Tim over the limit and he was busted as a suspected methamphetamine maker.

“(I was) made to feel like a criminal — Made to feel low, dirty. Just totally degraded,” recalled Tim Naveau, who says he’ll never forget the hours he spent in Rock Island County Jail — he says all because of his allergies.

“They searched me, made me take my shirt off, my shoes off,” he recounted.

I fail to see how this was an efficient use of limited police and jail resources. There was no meth lab on his property, there was no meth. His use of the drug is perfectly legitimate and the purpose for which the drug was made, but he was still arrested. And the local law enforcement don’t seem to care at all,

Rene Sandoval, Director of the Quad Cities Metropolitan Enforcement Agency — the agency that enforces the law — says it’s meant to catch meth makers, and does.

“We’ve seen a huge decline in methamphetamine labs,” Sandoval said.

But even if you’re not making meth, if you go over that limit — of one maximum strength pill per day — you will be arrested.

“Does it take drastic measures? Absolutely. Have we seen a positive result? Absolutely,” Sandoval stressed.

What about criminal intent? Is Ms. Sandoval so blinded that she can’t see that she has nabbed a law abiding citizen? Apparently so, and to her the ends justify the means.

On a side note, I find it amusing that so many wring their hands at how President Bush is undermining our freedoms, but in reality these people have far more to fear from people like Rene Sandoval. It isn’t George Bush’s storm troopers that are going to come kicking in your door, but Rene Sandoval’s. She is probably more of threat to the freedom of the people living in the Quad Cities than George Bush will be. Granted, the Executive branch of our government is in charge of prosecuting the War on Drugs, but that has been going on for some time under both Republicans and Democrats. Further, it will likely to continue that way.

FILED UNDER: Health, Law and the Courts, US Politics, , , ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. Brandon says:

    I also don’t see too many liberals wringing their hands over the actions of one Mike Nifong either.

  2. Anderson says:

    I find it amusing that so many wring their hands at how President Bush is undermining our freedoms

    “Wring their hands.” You’re “on the fence” about the DOJ database, but you want to insult people who are upset that Bush has violated federal law on electronic surveillance? [Expletive phrase deleted] and your “amusement,” too.

    Regardless, please remind me which President signed into law the bill, passed by a Congress controlled by which party, that criminalized the use of Sudafed? I’ll give you *lots* of guesses, so don’t feel shy.

  3. Steve,

    I agree with your position on the decongestant in question.

    However, I think you miss the point about people concerned about the Bush administration’s anti-terrorism tactics. They often embody the exact philosophy that Ms. Sandoval employs in the following statement: “Does it take drastic measures? Absolutely. Have we seen a positive result? Absolutely,” Sandoval stressed.

    Surely that describes the attitude in the administration regarding detainees, electronic surveillance and database construction (amongst other issues).

    Indeed, I see a number of unpleasant parallels between the drug war and the war on terror. As such, if you are concerned about the policies deployed in the war on drugs, I would argue that one should likewise cast a jaundiced eye towards anti-terror policies.

  4. Kent G. Budge says:

    I think there’s an important point to be made here:

    The War on Terror is, well, a war. Historically, war has always meant drastic measures, even in this country, and usually more drastic measures than anything Bush has done, even in this country.

    The War on Drugs is, well, not a war. But calling it one is a great way to justify the kinds of drastic measures that we normally tolerate only in prosecuting a real war.

    Meth labs are a real problem, IMO. But they are not machine gun nests or terrorist cells. Arresting people for buying a little too much allergy medicine is not justified.

    I favor drawing the line so that most of the gray area is on the legal side. Then vigorously going after those who still insist on crossing the line.

  5. Steve Verdon says:

    Steven and Anderson,

    My problem is that I think any president, irrespective of party affiliation, would have such a bill (not necessarily the entire Patriot Act Renewal). The War on Drugs is an old war and one that Presidents and candidates for said office alike seem to want to pursue vigorously. Granted, Bush is the current sitting President and as such he gets the lion share of the blame for current stupidity. But to pretend this is a Republican only problem is just nonsense.

    As for the parallels to the War on Drugs vs. the War on Terror, I don’t see the former as being a legitimate war. While one can have some legitimate issues with the idea of a War on Terror vs. say a War on ‘Fill in the Enemy’, the WoD is really about the Nanny State. It is very much like Prohibition during the 1920’s and 1930’s. It is about curtailling what one group of people see as naughty/undesirable behavior and really isn’t, to me, all that different from things like anti-miscegenation laws.

  6. Steve Verdon says:

    Hmmmph, well Kent said it a bit better, than I did. Oh well.

  7. The main motivation of policy-makers and citizens alike in the WoD is to make us all safer (from crackheads or meth labs or whatever) and it has led to some irrational and dangerous polices, as the Claritin-D patrol illustrates.

    However, the policy motivations in the WoT (i.e., safety) are very similar to those in the WoD. I fear that we have already seen irrational policy-making in that arena, and will see more of it in the future. This is not an issue to be taken lightly, I would argue, not one to be dismissed. The logics of the WoD is very much present in the policies of the WoT. Hence, if you find the WoDs to be problematic, I think that there is room for concern over the WoT, regardless of whom it is in the WH.

    We will often put up with a lot if we think it will make us safer. In the Quad Cities they are arresting people for buying too much decongestant. Is it really that much of a leap to note that if we are willing to do that then perhaps we need to be concerned about anti-terrorism policies within the borders of the US?

  8. Steve Verdon says:


    While the motivations are similar, I’d argue that the two realms are not the same. In the Wot, the government is protecting citizens from a violent threat. In the WoD the government is trying to protect the citizens from themselves. That latter is, in my view, diarmetrically opposed to the very notions our government was founded on. And even if you disagree with that, the idea is one of totalitarianism when taken far enough. So while there are parallels, I don’t think the analogy is all that apt.

    Where I do have a problem with the WoT is its open-ended nature. If it was say a war on Islamofacism or something like that we could at least have some sort of final outcome. Either all the Islamofascists are defeated (we win) or not (they win). Sort of like WWII. But defeating terrorism probably will never happen as it is a cheap and effective means of waging conflict. So, the idea that we enact restrictions on our freedoms for such a nebulous/open-ended conflict is troublesome in that regard.

  9. Kent G. Budge says:

    The open-endedness of the War on Terror is troubling, but I think we need to acknowledge that “War on Terror” is a euphemism. It is a war on Islamic extremism, but we choose not to call it that for political reasons. We are not, after all, going after Tamil separatists in Ceylon (at least as far as I know) or even Islamic genocides in Darfur.

    What makes it open-ended is not its scope, but the fact that its scope logically includes Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, and we just aren’t going to pursue the war that far. It’s true that we declared victory over Fascism in 1945 even though Spain and Argentina were still around; but this is more like planning to declare victory over Fascism with Italy or Japan still around.

  10. anjin-san says:

    Local officials such as Sandoval are a threat to freedom, as is Mr. Bush with has obsession for secrecy (is tire safety data something the terrorists want?) and his assult on the Constitution.

    There is nothing amusing about the situation…