meth addictA new nasal decongestant is available over the counter for those who suffer from allergies. Zyprex D is being pseudoephedrine that is being promoted not only for its medical value, but for being meth-resistant as well. This new medication is a response to companies having pills purchased for the purpose of cooking methamphetamine.

Producing Meth

No neighborhood is safe from meth labs. To reduce the costs and support their habits, addicts have become very creative in the making of methamphetamines. Labs have been reported in houses, apartments, cars, and even in small containers like soda bottles. The production of meth involves various items that can be found at the local grocery store. The combinations of the chemicals, which are harmful in themselves, effect the body and make the drug more addictive. Sodium hydroxide is a main chemical in drain cleaner – Drano, which is found in every cleaning aisle in stores. Anhydrous ammonia is used as a fertilizer. This main ingredient for meth production is more popular in rural areas as these areas have more farmland and grow their own crops. Iodine is a helpful chemical to the body in small amounts. Red phosphorus is a method used in lieu of anhydrous ammonia and is found on books of matches. Combining red phosphorus with iodine creates hydriotic acid, a necessary base element in the making of meth. Ether is used as an anesthetic for surgical procedures. Sudafed, which is not under surveillance in grocery stores because of the meth lab epidemic, contains ephedrine which causes the brain to release dopamine. Dopamine is a natural chemical in the body responsible for the reward system. It gives the body pleasure effects on the same level as sex, food, and other rewards necessary for survival. Flammable liquids, such as lighter fluid, are also used in meth lab production (amateur chemists who are not careful can have labs blow up in the process of cooking meth).

Big Pharma

With the knowledge that pseudophedrine-based products are being used in the production of methamphetamines, why have only two states succeeded in making the medicines a prescription drug? Two words: Big Pharma. The pharmacy industry is not the largest, most profitable industry in the world. Pseudoephedrine-based products bring in a large amount of money. As in over $600 million dollar large…per year. Though lawmakers, understanding the effect meth has on the people and environment, have tried to regulate the drugs, corporate pharmacy companies have made the battle a war. In 2004, Big Pharma went to extremes to stop a bill from passing in Oregon that would take pseudoephedrine off of shelves and regulate them. They proposed that the suggested legislation would do little to effect the drug problem. They brought in lobbyists from out of state to protests, but the bill was passed. The result? Meth lab busts dropped 96 percent since the bill was enacted in 2006. But Oregon, unfortunately, has not set the national standard. Lobbyists of Big Pharma turned their efforts to other states, doubling their campaigns in high meth lab production states, like Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana.

While the awareness about meth labs continues to grow, states are beginning to crack down on availability of ingredients; however, the power of Big Pharma is making it increasingly difficult. In 2009, 23 states attempted to pass bills that would take the meth-creating ingredient off of the shelves. One state, Mississippi, passed the bills. Like Oregon, the results gave hope for a meth-free future. There was an 81% drop in meth-endangered children following the passing of the bill. As the ingredients continue to be available, so too will the labs. The greed and power of Big Pharma is enabling a country to be coiled in a drug war. Until the pharmaceutical industry goes away, drugs never will.


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