Thursday, March 10, 2011

Don't Restrict Access to Cold Medicine

It's the common knee jerk reaction. Society sees something it doesn't like, they scream "there oughtta be a law." Sure enough, some strange bill gets proposed the next legislative session. You hope that the legislators have enough common sense to kill the bill and go on.

Doesn't look like it will happen this time.

A bill passed the House and is now racing through the State Senate to restrict access to certain cold medicines. Why? Because many contain an ingredient that is essential to the manufacture of methamphetamines.

You have to be joking. A few people misuse cold medicine, so all of us now have to get a prescription for a very simple and basic remedy that also happens to be fairly inexpensive. Ridiculous!

In fact, it's easy to tell who the meth makers are. They are the ones buying ten boxes of the stuff. The rest of us need just one at a time, usually. Why not encourage managers to discreetly pass a tip to the police every time someone buys out the stock of cold medicine? Some won't but a lot of them will. Or law enforcement could just randomly review store tapes. They probably recognize the local meth manufacturer already.

Both legitimate and illegal users of these medicines will simply cross state lines to get what they need. What does the Legislature expect? That a drug manufacturer will say "darn, I was going to get into selling meth, but cold medicine is now a prescription. Guess I'd better get an education and a job now." Of course not! This measure will make life inconvenient for the law abiding and do next to nothing to stop the criminals. The Charleston Daily Mail 's Don Surber asked if it would have been prudent to ban refined sugar in the heyday of the moonshiners during Prohibition.

You cannot stop crime by restricting liberty.

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