David R. Henderson  

Consumer Warning on Drugs

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A Guess and a Test... Caught My Eye...

An Indiana woman was recently charged with a crime for buying cold medicine.

It's due to a bill signed by that great believer in freedom, George W. Bush, in 2006. Many state governments, including Indiana's, followed suit with their own laws. The government's stated goal is to prevent people from buying "too much" pseudoephedrine and using it to create methamphetamine. But, as with most things government does, the government focuses on one goal and shows little concern for all of the other unintended, but totally predictable, consequences. Indeed, the best examples of negative externalities are those due to government regulation. The example of the Indiana woman is one.

I had always thought that when I used my driver's license to purchase Sudafed, the pharmacist would warn me and refuse to sell if I hit my limit. Wrong! That applies only if I buy at the same pharmacy each time or if I buy only from pharmacies that have linked data bases.

The government is pretty nasty about this. (Pardon the redundancy in that last sentence.) It turns out that you are responsible for keeping track of how much you buy and making sure it doesn't exceed the limits that the government, as our protector, has set.

Caveat emptor.

H/T to William Grigg.


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CATEGORIES: Regulation



COMMENTS (8 to date)
RL writes:

DH: "But, as with most things government does, the government focuses on one goal and shows little concern for all of the other unintended, but totally predictable, consequences."

When consequences are "totally predictable," the burden of proof that they are nonetheless "unintended" belongs to those making the claim...

Yancey Ward writes:

The really hilarious thing is that methamphetamine can be easily synthesized in large quantities using non-controlled substances. I suspect that this is the real reason this stupid law hasn't worked.

Dr. T writes:

I was a chemist before I became a physician. Amphetamines are easy to synthesize from a variety of chemicals. We studied how to do it in organic chemistry class. It's really easy if you start with pseudoephedrine, but you can do it from simpler chemicals that are readily available.

The idea that the big amphetamine labs were buying over-the-counter boxes of 30 mg pseudoephedrine pills, opening the boxes, popping the pills out of blister packs, and separating the pseudoephedrine from the binder, dye, and coating was absurd. The meth labs buy other precursors such as ephedrine in bulk, or they steal pseudoephedrine in bulk from the drug manufacturers (before it gets mixed and pressed into pills). The feds inconvienced us greatly to prevent a few teens from cooking up a dose or two of meth in their laundry room sinks. With two allergy sufferers in my family, I often come close to the monthly "allowance."

SpotCash writes:

It amuses me, as a steady reader, to attempt to determine who uses the "It's all Bush's fault."

Is it the Bloggers at GMU or the Obama administration.

The very odd thing about most Libertarians is the requirement that all people become true believers and the contempt to which those who do not follow the entire Libertarian Credo are subjected.

Guys, Figure out who your allies are. if you kill them, you lose.

ryan yin writes:

Um, Spotcash, seriously? You think libertarians aren't nice enough to conservatives and forget who their allies are? Pot, meet Kettle.

Nathan writes:

It's truly incredible how far down the ladder the government will go to address the initial problem. Some individuals, while high on certain drugs, violate the rights of others. To "solve" this problem, the government bans those drugs entirely, rather than concentrating on the actual crimes and stopping/ prosecuting those.

If the government did this with free speech activity, you can bet the ACLU and other groups would be up in arms. They wouldn't stand for a law that tried to stop racist crimes against minorities by banning all racist literature and speech. But when the government bans everyone from using certain plants and chemicals, nobody but us wacko libertarians bats an eyelash.

Of course, said laws don't work in stopping the use of drugs, so the government goes one step further and bans activities that could, potentially, maybe, contribute to making a drug that someone might use and then possibly injure or kill someone else while high. Again, if the government wanted to place limits on how much printer's ink you could purchase (to stop people from printing racist pamphlets which might cause someone else to harm a minority), a dozen civil rights groups would trip over each other to file lawsuits.

Rachel writes:

spotcash.... rather amusing post considering you state, "The very odd thing about most Libertarians is the requirement that all people become true believers and the contempt to which those who do not follow the entire Libertarian Credo are subjected."

Do you not see/hear the irony of your own post? You 'mark' libertarians, Obama admin and GMU Bloggers for the very thing you are objecting to.

What are you 18? Everyone blames everyone else for everything... that's the way of the world... get used to it and if you don't like it start making a change.... from WITHIN.

Nick Sommers writes:

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