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A yearly maximum on pseudoephedrine purchases?

By Scott Tibbs, February 22, 2013

Note: This letter was sent to all 50 members of the Indiana State Senate.

"Indiana State Police estimate that 80 percent of the illegal meth in Indiana comes from Mexico." -- Bloomington Herald-Times, December 12, 2010.


I was dismayed to see that the Indiana Senate approved an annual limit on pseudoephedrine sales in Indiana, in addition to the monthly limit already in place. I thank the four senators who voted "no" on this legislation, and I would ask the other forty four senators to reconsider their votes.

I do not deny that methamphetamine labs are a problem - from the incredibly dangerous explosive "shake and bake" labs to the contamination of houses (both owner-occupied and rental properties) for years. However one feels about the "War on Drugs," these labs represent a threat to the lives and property of other citizens, not just the people who are foolish enough to use methamphetamine recreationally.

However, my problem is that we are once again punishing the innocent for the crimes of the guilty. Most people will not hit the annual limits on pseudoephedrine you have approved, and fewer will hit the monthly limits already in place. Some, however, will hit those limits (especially people buying the drug for their family if everyone gets sick at the same time) and their liberty to purchase a perfectly save over-the-counter remedy for cold symptoms will be restricted because some people use it in an irresponsible and illegal manner.

I respectfully submit that this is not a solution. Considering that the vast majority of the methamphetamine in Indiana comes from the hyper-violent Mexican drug cartels, this will not make much of an impact on methamphetamine use in our state. Furthermore, it will not do much to even prevent people determined to "cook" methamphetamine from doing so. It is a relatively simple matter to outsource the purchase of methamphetamine to other people so that no one hits their monthly or annual limit.

As much as I disagree with this, there is a far worse proposal that was considered in the 2011 legislative session - making pseudoephedrine (which has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as safe for over-the-counter sales) a prescription-only drug.

This would cost Hoosiers a huge amount of money by forcing them to make a doctor's appointment for simple relief from congestion, clog up doctor's offices with unnecessary visits and increase waiting time for people who truly need medical assistance, and line the pockets of the medical establishment at the expense of working Hoosiers - once again punishing the innocent for the crimes of the guilty. I hope you reject this terrible proposal.

I respectfully submit that these nanny state proposals should not be implemented. Thank you for your time.

Scott Tibbs