This week I’m talking about Crystal Meth. Yes, that drug. The one they really thought they had figured out back in the 00’s, and interestingly enough, gave us a perfect example of how top down drug legislation can miss the mark. In 2005, several states had the bright idea to make Sudafed harder to get, to prevent it from being purchased by meth cooks to use to make…meth of course. They turned Sudafed from “over the counter” to “under the counter” which added checks and signatures and a whole song and dance routine (actually just showing ID & signing your name) to get pseudoephedrine. This would ostensibly create a database of people using the stuff to make meth, bingo bango, they get arrested. No more meth cooks, no more meth. No more meth, no more meth users. This idea seemed so solid, that after many states passed state versions of this initiative, the Federal version was passed by Congress, titled the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005. In 2006, the first person was arrested for stocking up on Claritin, but that’s besides the point. The mindset that produced these laws totally misses one simple thing. And as result, you have the chart above this paragraph.
When the meth labs closed down, even after this kinda stuff was made “under the counter” in Mexico (Yea, totally was), people didn’t stop wanting meth. They just paid more for it because it was being brought in from farther away. Oklahoma is reporting this in 2014. This law was passed in 2005, and while it has shuttered hundreds of meth labs across the country, people are simply getting their meth from farther away. This means that it’s more likely to get your meth from a “super center,” which is just a fancy word for a real meth lab. Not like, one in a frat basement, but one where they make the stuff in gallons not milliliters. The resurgence of both Mexican cartel & domestic syndicate meth has brought prices down across the country, but it also amped up the purity. Hence the skyrocketing overdoses. When you start on your friend’s bathtub shit, but suddenly find yourself with a strong need and they’re not in town, you get from whoever is selling. That person’s selling something way stronger, but you don’t know that. You take your normal dose and it explodes your reality. This is being written about by some, but I think it drives home my point.
A lot of these laws are coming from a seemingly logical place, but they don’t really account for simple human behavior, which opens millions up to potential harm & eventual cost to the healthcare system, as meth addicts aren’t exactly the “saving” type. We need to understand that users, even casual ones, will simply work around a lot of these initiatives, even if it kills them. I guarantee you that standardized purity & dosing will save a lot more people than making sure I bring my driver’s license with me when I go to Duane Reade because I have a headcold. For more on this, join #SayMyName at 4:30pm EST on Twitter to talk the drug that America just can’t quit.