Over the last few years there has been much discussion regarding whether certain OTC medications (those used in producing methamphetamine) should be made available by prescription only. This is not meant to be a debate on the topic nor will I list sources or data; those reasons will likely be the basis for a long, future post. For now, this is a brief opinion/summary based on my observations as a medical professional working with addicts and as a parent of two recovering addicts.
The most persistent argument I’ve heard for keeping the medications available OTC, in my opinion, is lacking in substance. It goes something like this: A poor mother without insurance should NOT have to pay for an office visit she can’t afford in order to get needed medication. That’s the biggest argument I hear. The second most frequent argument deals with our “freedom” as Americans. Whatever. I watch people die from freedom, so in my opinion it is highly over-rated in situations such as this. ALLOWING FREEDOM WITHOUT REQUIRING ADEQUATE EDUCATION IS A WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION. Don’t believe me? Watch the news…
These medications are NOT life giving drugs–period. I have NEVER, EVER administered one of them in a crisis situation and I work in acute situations regularly. At best, they provide symptom relief, which is available OTC in other non-meth-producing combinations anyway. Our present system does allow for tracking of purchases and the buyer must show I.D. However, many “smurfs” (individuals who buy these medications containing a specific ingredient for meth cooks) exceed the purchase limit without consequence. I’m not sure how it happens, but it does. Is it because the system is over-burdened?
They often cross state lines to make additional purchases and the communication between states is quite limited. VERY sneaky…….. We will NOT get on top of the methamphetamine epidemic as long as we make the ingredients and opportunity readily available.