Meth Connection: US Pharmacies Tracking Certain Products

Pharmacy tracking will not keep the meth problem from continuing to explode. The current methods attempting to address the production of illegal methamphetamine are proving inadequate.

America was first introduced to methamphetamine use during World War II, when men who faced battle were issued the drug to increase their combat endurance. After the war, pharmaceutical companies in Japan sold over-the-counter meth pills. The drug’s prevalence in the United States remained somewhat controlled. But, chemically similar drugs were promoted in large quantities in the US for treatment of depression, obesity, and other problems.

Pharmacy Tracking

In 1970, part of the US government’s motivation to enact the Controlled Substances Act was to stop recreational abuse of meth. It reclassified all forms of amphetamines as Schedule II controlled substances. But, by the 1980s, recreational use of methamphetamine’Prescription Drug Addictions had gained popularity, mostly because it was produced by illegal underground laboratories using dangerous processes to break down precursor products. The main precursor was cold virus medicine containing pseudo-ephedrine, such as Sudafed. So, the federal government set limits to access of precursor products. The success of this policy has been limited, at best. Most of those involved in the war on meth abuse agree that tracking precursor product sales doesn’t work.

The state of Tennessee is considered a canary in this meth cold medicine war mine. In that state, if people want to buy cold remedies containing pseudoephedrine, they must submit to a privacy-invading process, leaving a copy of their driver’s license number. It is considered a small price to pay in order to keep crystal meth abuse down. The only problem is that this safeguard is not working. The following data details this failure.

Over 84% of pharmacies are obeying the state laws to report pseudoephedrine sales, where applicable, but usually do not report to law enforcement in real time.
Of the 1,900 stores that record and report buyer information on their sales of pseudoephedrine products in Tennessee, only 300 do any type of real-time reporting to law enforcement.
In Athens, Tennessee, a Walgreens pharmacy was selling about 650 boxes each week.
Tennessee authorities seized 1,811 meth labs in 2012. By late 2013, they seized 1,485 labs.

Meth Addiction Treatment

Since controlling meth distribution has failed, perhaps a better way to deal with the problem is meth addiction treatment. Many professional inpatient treatment programs have proven the effectiveness of treatment. The best treatments use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is a comprehensive approach, combining several recovery components to enable meth addicts to become free of the addiction, and lead happy, fulfilled lives.

Attempts to use government policy to fix the problems with meth production and distribution has failed. Perhaps future research will lead to the invention of cold remedies that never contain any of the precursor substances needed to produce meth in clandestine labs. At any rate, treatment of the addiction and better education are currently the best way to deal with it.

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