A Few Jerks, part 2
I suffer from allergies. To alleviate the allergy symptoms, I take diphenhydramine (aka Benadryl), an antihistamine. If the allergy symptoms are particularly severe, or if I have a cold, for which antihistamines do little good, I take pseudoephedrine (aka Sudafed), a decongestant.
The problem is that pseudoephedrine is also one of the major ingredients of methamphetamine, a seriously dangerous illegal drug. In an effort to reduce the production of methamphetamine, many government agencies, including the state of New Mexico, have put restrictions on the sale of pseudoephedrine, with each store left to make its own policy on how the restrictions will be enforced. In some cases, all that means is that medications containing that drug are on a shelf behind the cash register with the cigarettes, or in a locked cabinet, and people can still get the medication by asking a store employee to get it for them. But in other places, such as Wal-Mart, someone buying pseudoephedrine has to show a photo ID and fill out a form that is entered into a computer database. Ironically, that same Wal-Mart will sell a gallon can of acetone, another key ingredient for meth, without any restrictions at all.
I find this really scary. Just to get a medication that provides effective relief for my allergy symptoms (and that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg the way prescription medications do), I have to give up a chunk of privacy. I would guess that many of the methamphetamine producers already have sources other than retail stores, so I don’t even know that all these restrictions do any good. What I do know is that I’m being penalized for the criminal activity of others.