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Friday, November 18, 2005

One More Reason to Oppose "Patriot" Act Reauthorization

The Drug War Chronicle reports that a new law that would restrict access to cold and allergy medicine is hidden in the reauthorization of the so-called "Patriot" Act:

After months of posturing and finger-pointing over the demon drug du jour, methamphetamine, and literally dozens of meth bills introduced, Congress is now set to pass the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act. This year's anti-meth legislation will make the restrictions on over-the-counter cold medications containing the meth precursor pseudoephedrine adopted by some states the law of the land, but in a partial victory for reformers and their allies, the final version of the bill eliminates draconian enhancements of current mandatory minimum meth sentences that were originally part of legislation sponsored by Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) and coming out Rep. James Sensenbrenner's (R-WI) House Judiciary Committee.

The meth bill is folded into the Patriot Act reauthorization measure, which is on a fast track to passage. The measure could have been voted on by the time you read these words or it could be passed over the weekend or early next week -- provided negotiations between House and Senate conferees over the Patriot Act don't derail everything. With Democrats and some Republicans deeply concerned over various Patriot Act provisions, there is talk of a possible filibuster.
(entire story here, link via Hit and Run)

Not only would this measure invade the privacy of cold and allergy sufferers by forcing them to put their names on a government list, it would also be completely ineffective in stopping the use of methamphetamine. Oklahoma was the first state to restrict the sale of pseudoephedrine. KOTV reports on Oklahoma's experience:

State drug agents say a new law that led to a dramatic drop in the number of methamphetamine labs has not reduced overall meth use.

And state Bureau of Narcotics director Lonnie Wright says many meth addicts are now using a Mexican-made version of the drug known as ``crystal ice.''

Wright says the number of meth labs found in the state is down 90 percent since a law went into effect 15 months ago that restricts the sale of cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine, a prime ingredient in meth.

But he says the amount of crystal ice found in the state has increased by five times.

(entire article here, link via The D'Alliance)

Hmm, so this would put small, domestic manufacturers out of business and in turn increase imports from Mexico? Someone ought to get Lou Dobbs on this.


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