Faced with a crisis of methamphetamine addiction and toxic spills from homemade drug labs, 20 states are considering tight restrictions on common cold medicines that contain the essential meth ingredient pseudoephedrine, the New York Times reports. Most of the proposals would allow sales of products like Sudafed only in pharmacies, not in grocery or convenience stores. Customers would have to purchase the medicine from a pharmacist, show photo identification, and sign a logbook.
The state bills, and similar ones introduced in Congress, are expected to be opposed by groups representing drug, grocery, and convenience stores. In Minnesota, “meth is now breaking all the rules about how the drug spreads,” said Deborah Durkin of the state health department. “Meth is no longer a rural health problem here; it is a statewide public health crisis, with 70 to 80 percent of the people in jail for meth-related crimes and large numbers of high school kids becoming addicted.” One motivation for passing such laws is concern that makers of methamphetamine will flock to states that do not pass restrictions.