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July 01, 2005

but I really do have a runny nose

Drug makers are scrambling to find substitutes for the popular over-the-counter decongestant pseudoephedrine as state and federal efforts to ban or severely restrict its availability move forward.

You’re probably asking yourself the question, “Is that really how you spell pseudoephedrine? Because it doesn’t look right.” Also, you are wondering why a decongestant would be so controversial.

As it turns out, pseudoephedrine is a popular ingredient used by methamphetamine labs to create the illegal recreational drug crystal meth and it is these US-based labs, supplying approximately 35% of the meth consumed in this country, that the government hopes to eliminate.

Naturally you are surprised to learn that domestic producers have managed a measly 35% market share in crystal meth. It’s not for lack of trying, says one small meth lab proprietor, “We make high-quality, hand-crafted crank for the discriminating basehead. The problem is, there really aren’t any discriminating baseheads.”

Most homegrown meth labs are small, family-owned outfits without the resources to invest in the business beyond a few pots, a stove and a commercial account with the local Taco Bell. That’s why, even without the crackdown, production has been moving to Mexico where labor rates are cheaper. “How can I compete with dollar-an-hour labor?” asked one local producer. “And that’s just the cops.”

Efforts by the industry to allow exceptions for the use of medical meth to help treat people suffering from “you know, stuff” have met with little success despite organizers staying up for seven straight days and nights and watching every Bond movie ever made (except for the one with George Lazenby because everybody knows that one doesn’t count).

Even efforts to organize the benefit concert “CrankAid” had to be cancelled when it was discovered that all the acts the promoters had hoped would perform had already overdosed and died. 

When one fan was asked if he thought that was ironic, he looked down, thoughtful for a moment and then raised his head wearily and said, “What?”

If the government is successful, the timeless traditions of the family-owned meth lab will fade away from the American landscape forever. No more will the specialized knowledge of how to open blister packs efficiently be passed on from father, to girlfriend, to illegitimate child to guy who hangs out here, generation after generation.

However, the government will be able to claim yet another victory in its war on drugs, kicking back in celebration with a dry martini, a good cigar, and a Lipitor.


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July 1, 2005 at 11:23 AM | Permalink


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In some places you have to ask for this as they keep it behind the counter. It was that way with airplane glue when I was a kid.

Posted by: Vache Folle | Jul 12, 2005 1:40:26 PM

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