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Drug War May Soon Affect Allergy And Cold Sufferers


By James Donahue

January 2005


The best of the inexpensive over-the-counter antihistamines that give relief to millions of Americans suffering from colds and allergies may soon be removed from store shelves because of a crackdown on the illegal manufacture of methamphetamine.


While I have no love for the people involved in cooking this dangerous drug in their portable “meth labs,”  I object to the radical removal of the antihistamines from stores as a possible solution.


One recent story said at least 20 states in the west and Midwest are considering laws restricting access to these drugs. Apparently they will still be available, but through a doctor’s prescription and dispensed by pharmacists.


If not purchased by a doctor’s note, the states are considering rules where the buyer must show identification and enter their addresses in a law enforcement database if they want to buy these medications. Most people will object to either solution since doctor visits are costly and time consuming, and are not going to be happy about getting their name in a police drug file.


Among the medications marked for control are Sudafed, NyQuil, Claritin-D, Tylenol Flu and hundreds of other cold, allergy and sinus remedies that contain pseudoephedrine.


It seems that long chemical name, pseudoephedrine, is the stuff the drug dealers want to manufacture the street drug methamphetamine. While I am not a chemist and have no idea how they do it, I do know that the labs are used to extract the desired chemical from these popular cold and allergy medications and then turn it into a powder used by street junkies.


But I suspect that the big operators are buying large amounts of these medications to make their drugs. If this is true, any store operator that handles these pills should be able to detect when an unusually large purchase of allergy medicine is getting rung up at the cash register. Why not police the problem here instead of banning these very popular and very necessary medications from the general public?


Methamphetamine is a very big business for the drug underworld and one that will not be stopped by simply removing a few drugs from the market. I predict that all the new rules will do is change the formula for making the drug and probably force the labs to add a few new poisons in the mix.


It also will make it difficult for allergy and cold sufferers to get the relief they need. It is the stimulant in these pills that allows people to stop their noses from running, their eyes from watering, and remove their cold symptoms so they can go to work or get through their day without suffering the ill effects of antihistamines.


The government scam known as the Drug War has been such a failure since its inception that I don’t know why I am surprised that legislators are considering such a backward approach to solving the methamphetamine problem.


The only thing this “war” has accomplished in America has been to force the price of illegal drugs through the roof which in turn has made their manufacture so lucrative that the underworld has been thriving.


Everybody pays to get the narcotics they need in America. It appears that allergy and cold sufferers will begin paying the high price for their needed medications as well. The drug companies that furnish these medications only stand to make billions of more dollars in the process.


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