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Some in the Texas Legislature think the police ought to know how much cold and allergy medicine you're buying.
They want consumers' names entered in a log at the drugstore every time they buy remedies, such as Nyquil, Sudafed and Tylenol, that contain pseudoephedrine.
The rationale is that drug dealers and users are buying those products as ingredients for making methamphetamine, sometimes called - poor man's cocaine.
Several bills were filed in the Legislature as national retailers CVS, Target, Wal-Mart and Walgreens announced they would restrict access to pseudoephedrine medications for the same reason.
When the new rules go into effect, consumers will have to ask licensed pharmacists for products they once just selected from the shelves.
The retailers can put their customers through whatever hoops they like and face whatever consequences the market decides to mete out, but the legislative efforts are another matter. Those amount to one more thrust of the government snout into peoples' private lives with little justification and even less potential social benefit.
The government and various other drug warriors say there is an epidemic of methamphetamine cooking and use in the state. They would like us to believe that a significant portion of that epidemic is accounted for by people who buy Sudafed at Walgreens for $8 a box, from which they are able to extract a minute amount of active ingredient.
We just don't buy it. Surely there are people who fit that model, but just as surely most people buying over-the-counter allergy medications are honest and have allergies. It's equally certain that most of the methamphetamine fueling the epidemic is coming from rather more industrial sources.
There are several questions lawmakers should be required to answer with more than drug war platitudes before they make this incursion into our private lives.
What, for instance, do you intend to do about the Internet where you, we and all the tweakers in the state can buy pseudoephedrine 24/7 and get a cut rate on bulk orders?
Do you intend to make people register when they buy any of the other ingredients needed to cook meth? Even the matches?
We could argue that alcohol abuse is far more epidemic than methamphetamine use. In fact, if you counted dead bodies the pile attributable to booze would dwarf all the rest. Will you make people log their purchases of beer, wine and spirits?
Government should intrude into our private business only when there is an irrefutable cause for it, coupled with a profound and undeniable benefit in doing so.
We see neither here. We see the camel's nose at the tent flap. Let him in and soon he'll be monitoring your bed, rooting through your medicine cabinet, inventorying your bookshelves and rifling through your sock drawer.
Hmmm... I think the police should keep records of how much money we have in the bank, how much we spend, how much we save, etc... The rationale is that bank robbers rob banks and the police need to know what we are doing with respect to banking banking needs, even if we are not a bank robber. Guilty until proven innocent.
-------------------- Just another spore in the wind.