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Don't punish the innocent for the crimes of the guilty

By Scott Tibbs, May 25, 2010

On a cold December night in 2007, I was awake with a nasty cold. I went to the pharmacy at 3:00 am to buy some cold medicine so I could get some sleep, but the government has mandated that I sign a piece of paper to purchase a higher dose.

It should be no surprise to anyone that the drug warriors have not stopped there. Law enforcement in Vigo County has managed to convince area pharmacies to require a prescription to purchase cold medicine, if the active ingredient can be used to make methamphetamine. If I lived in Vigo County, I would have to wait until the next morning, assuming I could even get into the doctor. An urgent care facility (or even the emergency room) would be possible, though it is more expensive.

We have just taken a huge step toward a police state, folks. The government has decided that we cannot be trusted to run our own lives, so we have to have a medical professional sign a document to permit us to purchase medicine approved for over-the-counter sales by the federal government.

What is the purpose of the Food and Drug Administration's regulations for over-the-counter sales and why are we ignoring the FDA's rulings? Is the problem that people are more stupid and irresponsible than they have been in the past, or is the problem that authoritarian statists are seeking more and more power for themselves?

We should not be punishing the innocent for the crimes of the guilty. Why should I, as a law-abiding citizen, be restricted in my ability to purchase a medicine approved for over-the-counter sale because other people use that product to manufacture an illegal drug? Why should my liberty be restricted because of the criminal behavior of someone else? Nanny-state apologists may argue that the policy presents an inconvenience, but the principle at stake is what matters here.

Does this policy represent corporate welfare? Will doctors be charging $50 (or more) for a visit so a patient can be allowed to purchase some cold medicine? How much money will flow into the coffers of doctors - from both families and insurance companies - because the police in Vigo County have decreed that the people are far too stupid and irresponsible to buy over-the-counter drugs?

There is no need for this policy. None. The current system already keeps track of the names and addresses of people who are buying "too much" cold medicine and are therefore flagged as potential meth users and/or dealers. We are already treating law-abiding citizens like potential criminals.

We have lost far too much of our liberty to the "war on drugs" and the "war on crime." We are seeing the frightening militarization of police leading to unnecessary armed confrontations and terrible tragedies. When will people say "enough" to this nanny-state extremism?