Buy too much Sudafed and you may get a visit from a cop

Buy too much Sudafed and you may get a visit from a cop

Summary: If you have a runny nose and run to the store to purchase a decongestant, don't be too surprised if a detective shows up at your door shortly thereafter. Ever since a federal law went into effect that regulates pseudoephedrine, tracking systems have begun to pop up in local pharmacies, reports the Associated PressSince the law went into effect in 2006, pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in the manufacture of methamphetamine, has migrated behind the counter at pharmacies.

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TOPICS: Government US
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If you have a runny nose and run to the store to purchase a decongestant, don't be too surprised if a detective shows up at your door shortly thereafter. Ever since a federal law went into effect that regulates pseudoephedrine, tracking systems have begun to pop up in local pharmacies, reports the Associated Press Since the law went into effect in 2006, pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in the manufacture of methamphetamine, has migrated behind the counter at pharmacies. Customers must show photo ID to buy the decongestant, and the legal limit for purchases is 9 grams per month - roughly the equivalent of two 15-dose boxes of 24-hour Claritin D, or three 10-dose boxes of Aleve Cold & Sinus, or six 24-dose boxes of Sudafed.

Tracking systems such as MethCheck send local law enforcement the buyer's name, address and age with a swipe of a driver's license or state-issued ID card. If a customer is on a list of suspicious persons or he buys more than the legal limit of 9 grams per month, a detective is notified via email.

MethCheck will soon be able to track purchases by neighborhood or street, which would locate areas where meth chemists enlists others in the neighborhood to buy pseudoephedrine. MethCheck will be used at some 7,000 pharmacies in 43 states by next year, said Rick Jones, spokesman for Louisville-based Appriss Inc., which developed MethCheck.

Critics of the tracking software have raised concerns that people with colds or allergies could be suspected of meth production just for buying more than the average amount of cold medicine.

"People's health information - it's intimate, it's personal, it's something people desperately want to keep private," said Beth Wilson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Kentucky. "For law enforcement to do an investigation, there must be a reasonable suspicion. I'm not sure just the amount of medication justifies that."

Law enforcement counters by saying that the type of evidence from MethCheck only leads to preliminary interviews with police and is not enough to warrant an arrest.

"It's just an investigative tool," said Van Ingram of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy. "During the course of any investigation, you're sometimes going to interview people who aren't guilty of wrongdoing but who are part of the investigative process."

From a Fourth Amendment perspective, there would be nothing wrong with this if the pharmacy customer is truly free to decline the conversation. But if police are authorized to insist or to impede a person's free movement (or take her into custody), there must at least be reasonable suspicion that the person has committed a crime. Does buying too much Sudafed (perhaps because it's on sale) qualify?

Topic: Government US

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21 comments
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  • Our laws can be so stupid

    This law does absolutely nothing to stop meth.

    The national news (I saw it reported on NBC or ABC news) the meth manufactures just steal or buy the pseudoephedrine in live stock medication which is exempt from this law.

    Just another stupid law that removes law abiding citizens rights without affect or inconveniencing the criminals in any way what so ever.

    The war on drugs is ineffective. This is just another prime example of just how ineffective it is.
    dragosani
  • throw out the baby with the bathwater

    Once again, the phony "war on drugs" is being used as a rationale for intrusion into the privacy and liberty of law-abiding citizens. This has been responsible for the increasing militarization of civilian law enforcement, the packing of our prisons with otherwise non-violent offenders, the confiscation of personal and real property on specious grounds and the establishment of a police state.

    I agree that the meth problem is a serious one, and that this particular drug is one of the most destructive we have ever seen, but I somehow doubt that the motivations of the government and law enforcement are entirely out of any altruism or real concern for law-abiding citizens. It is an excuse to gain more police power and more control over our free society.

    We would be far better off to legalize all drugs, make them widely and cheaply available, and leave people with their own choices whether to destroy their lives or opt for something better out of life. If we are serious about curing drug problems we need to remove the financial incentive from the equation and not allow the criminal element to derive benefit from suffering. The organized criminals would go out of business pretty fast, and those who decided to take the road of drug use would not be with us for long either...that would be their sole choice and at least they wouldn't be able to take the rest of us down with them.
    maxtheaxe
    • Re: throw out the baby with the bathwater

      Someday the war on drugs will be over. It will be declared a failure, misguided and possibly or wholly responsible for the breakdown of nation


      These laws will evaporate over time (a long timue) or a national crisis will make them irrelevent. But as long as there is prohibition the problem will not be solved.

      It used to be that ephedrine could be bought OTC. But now it is not available. I never was even tempted to buy and use it. However, when the news broke that it would become unavailable the first thought I had was; Do i need to buy some before it is not available? But I did not. I do not even like a much caffeine.

      The same thing with pseudoephedine. I do not like to take the stuff. In fact I probably only take a 3 or 4 doses a year.

      However, when I buy it I like to be able to buy the generic at the lowest price. I read the ingredient labels and the amounts and calculate the best price. I also do not like to take chemical cocktails Now it annoys me that someone will have to stand there and watch me read the labels if I can even do that. I guess I will have to google "Make your own pseudoephedrine"


      I also believe this is going to be an opportunity for the retailers to offer less options at higher prices.


      At any rate, this just keeps the meth addicts from making their own. This is just providing another opportunity for cartels to step in and make the product in larger quantities with much more violence.

      Largo vive te Uni? la guerra de la droga del Estado
      Joe Frisco
    • meth is the most destructive drug we have ever seen

      meth is the most destructive drug we have ever seen.
      Why is everyone saying this. People don't know what they are talking about they just repeat what they see on TV. There is no way that meth is worse the crack cocain. It is simple, With good meth you would need 1 dose every day. Crack you need a dose every 30 minutes and that is pushing it. meth is not a Physical addiction it is physcological. Cocain is a physical addiction. When a meth addict runs out of meth he will sleep for days. When a crack addict runs out they can't sleep they become ill and will do whatever they need to feel better.
      Steven Robbins
    • RE:

      That sounds like a fine idea, actually. Less government interference in the drug market should lower prices and reduce crime, enough people Darwin out and population density will start looking a little better, too. I really don't see how it's that much different from making cookies, when you get to the root of things.
      hroosican
  • They Have To Convince Us We're Stupid

    If the medical professions don't keep convincing us we are stupid, we might start pursuing answers to the difficult questions more vigourously and expose them as charlatans.

    http://machiavelli.blog.co.uk/2007/07/10/the_scandal_that_will_not_go_away~2608346
    greenteeth
  • It's for the common good

    I don't think folks realize how much you can buy with no problem. I can go through 2 colds with one box usually. The Meth dealers were buying 10, 20 or even 50 boxes at a time. It is bad that they have to record this information on everyone, but it is for the common good. If someone was making Meth in the house next to yours, and made a mistake (like turning on the light), their house and yours could be blown up.
    d_nc
    • fear

      I seldom take medication. an occasional ibuprophen when I get a stiff backis about it

      But most drug laws are passed by spreading fear. If you can get enough people afraid of something they will gladly give millions to control it.

      Sad part is that most often the targeted drug is not that big of a deal untill AFTER the law is passed.

      Where previously you may have some isolated cases of people getting wasted on a quasi legal substance, and hurting themselves or possibly another, you now have people who stand to make MILLIONS by providing it, and others who stand to make millions by attempted control of it, and both sides are willing to KILL to protect those millions. It is NOT about the public at large, it is about the income derived from the substance.

      prohibition turned a minor problem into a major issue where millions died and many more millions were spent on controlling a minor issue, and on incarcerating thousands of people who otherwise would have led productive lives.

      marijuana, sorry, but I used to be a big pothead, and of the hundreds of people I knew that got high, I've never known anyone to get violent. mellowed out, laid back, and sleepy yes, violent no.
      Now you have billions spent on it's control, thousands of people dieing and killing over it and unsavory characters making millions on it. And you have millions of people suffereing pain because it is a controlled substance and they can't use it legally. legalize pot and you will eliminate the funding for many criminal organizations, reduce the load on criminal courts, reduce the threat to law enforcement personel, and bring relief to many sufferring people. Marijuanna has no more effect on social harmony than booze does, so why not subject it to the same laws and regulations as booze? If it were legal it would provide a new cash crop, and provide revenue for the feds who could/would tax it the same as liquer

      sorry, but I have NEVER seen more control as being the answer, making something illegal will only make it easier to get for those who are likely to abuse it. Making an otc drug too hard to get will mean you'll start seeing people getting killed over cold meds.

      Ken.
      merc2dogs`
  • Prescriptions

    We have a long established method of controlling medications called prescription pharmaceuticals. That means if the doctor doesn't say you need it, you cannot get it.

    If the government is so concerned about Sudafed, they should put it back into the "by prescription only" category. We should not have controlled substances available "over the counter". And if anyone believes that Sudafed is not a controlled substance, let them go out and buy too much of it. We'll see if their opinion changes.
    pete1978
    • The more you tighten your grip the more will slip through your fingers

      Pseudoephedrine is the only thing that stops my chronic headaches.

      I've been to several doctors and had all kinds of scans and MRIs done and they haven't found anything.

      It would be a huge pain for me to have to get a prescription for a medication that shouldn't need one in the first place.

      The prohibition and systems of control of medications and drugs we use now is horribly ineffective.

      I say we should just let people buy 100% pure methamphetamine produced by big pharma companies if they really want it. That will get rid of gang violence (no more black market) and eliminate impure / adulterated / mislabeled drugs (making its usage much safer). People are going to do meth whether you like it or not. Who would you rather be making it? Trained professionals or white trash tweakers?
      internet-user
  • tweekers sux....

    My neighbors are under investigation for running a meth lab. The damn shame of it is that their kids are involved in it too. All trash should be thrown out, and if the government needs to regulate a pill, then kudos to them. Make it a prescribed med, and monitor the scripts. Or tell the manufacturers to cease production. Just my .02
    darkstar809612@...
  • Totally Overblown

    Most meth comes from labs in Mexico, and the purity is greater than the local nit-wits who set up their labs. Perhaps they need to deal with the real problem instead of insisting that the meth problem is from Sudafed purchases.

    The only sinus medicine that really works is Sudafed & I get aggravated that I have to have my purchases recorded by the government and its corporate welfare service bureau. Maybe they should look at being this thorough with their military contractors.
    nherkowitz@...
  • Internet

    These dont really help anybody. just goto ebay or even google and you can buy as much as you want.
    Be sure to use tor, when visiting Mexican pharmacy websites.
    hawkeyefile
  • The key to slamming this regulation is...

    Everyone should go out and buy the minimum amount of Sudafed necessary to trigger an investigation. This will cause policing agencies to either completely go under, or to raise the limit. We buy another packet of Sudafed each time and sink them again and again until they either repeal the regulation, or we all have a life-time supply of Sudafed in the refridgerator, at which point nobody will bother to buy anymore cold medicine, thereby causing a massive crash for certain pharmaceutical companies.
    Dr_Zinj
  • To buy or steal from a store

    The way I see it, I could tell you, I went to a store and watch how people buy, or steal, clear the shelf then go to another store, it has been cleared too. How do the people who really need it get any. They put it behind the counter, and take a plastic card and swap for the real thing when they buy it now.
    troubled241
  • My Experience Today

    I've had quite the experience from this BS. That last two times I've gone to Kroger or Walgreens they've been out of Zyrtec-D, so I had to settle for Claritin-D and Alavert-D, neither of which worked as well. I go to Kroger today and they tell me the supplier they order it through has it back ordered, but I can get it at Rite Aid. So naturally since this item is hardly anywhere to be found where I live I would like to stock up on more than 12 doses...however I can't because I've already used up my 3 purchases this month.
    lexscully
  • RE: Buy too much Sudafed and you may get a visit from a cop

    I think that sudaphed should be prescription only. Meth is the worst drug on this planet. It almost killed someone I knew and loved. I lost her in my life because I am so dead set against it. The police have enough on their hands with serious crimes and now they have to deal with this xxxx.
    sipple
    • meth

      I totally agree that meth is the devil's drug I am tring to find out how to get proof that my 9yr old daughter's father is on the list for buying Sudafed one of his friends told me he was. I know he is doing it and I was also told that he blew his kitchen up tring to make it thank god my daughter wasn't there She used to worship him and see him every weekednd now she acts terrified to even go over there and she hasn't in 2 months but she will not open up to me about it I don't know what to do...if u have kids put yourself in my shoes if u can help in anyway please let me know
      davis1980
  • Watch list for OTC meds to make meth with

    i have been hearing from a lot of different people that my daughter's father is making meth. i have also been told that is on some kind of list for buying to much Sudafed Is there anyone that knows how and if I can find out if he is on this list. i was told that he blew up part of his kitchen when he first started tring to make it which was a while ago but I am just now finding all this out. my daughter used to go over there every weekend and worshiped him and for the past couple months she has begged me not to make her go but she will not tell me why. Now what would have happened if my daughter would have been there when he blew his kitchen... If anyone knows how to get this information or has any advise PLEASE help me
    davis1980
  • To fummey

    Dude I don't think there is a watch list but it sounds like you are the one buying the sudo and are paranoid about it so you are probing for info. Really if this man you are talking about is on such list what does that mater to you. I think the law is that the store can not sell more then the allotted amount or they will be fined not the buyer The buyers don't have the program that tracks how much he bought so how are they to know how much they bought. Basically play dumb if questioned about how much you bought.
    Steven Robbins