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Counterproductive efforts at fighting meth

By Scott Tibbs, February 19, 2016

When the legislature passes a law, it needs to consider the implications of that law and whether passing that law will actually make things worse instead of making things better. Such is the case with the poorly thought out efforts to further restrict the liberty of law abiding citizens by making pseudoephedrine available only by prescription. This, of course, would also be corporate welfare for doctors, who will benefit from people being forced to see them for permission to buy a perfectly safe over-the-counter medicine.

Following up on my "instant message" response that we do not need more restrictions on pseudoephedrine, I pointed out in the comments that "80% of meth in Indiana comes from Mexico. Further restricting pseudoephedrine might reduce meth labs but will empower and enrich hyper-violent Mexican drug cartels. Is this really what the legislature wants?" In response, someone asked the following:

  • Why is it the responsibility of the Indiana Legislature to worry about the lack of effective government enforcement in Mexico?

The reason is simple: Since 80% of methamphetamine in Indiana comes from Mexico, the cartels are obviously active in transporting it here. There have been reports of absolutely horrific violence committed by the cartels, including slaughtering rivals and hanging the corpses from bridges, kidnapping and torturing students, and beheading their victims. Doing something that will increase the market share of the drug cartels will bring more of them into Indiana - and you better believe that horrific crimes, murder, torture and rape will follow.

Let's be honest here: The market for illegal drugs (specifically methamphetamine) is a real thing. People who cannot make it at home will not simply stop using it; they will try to get it from another source. That is where the cartels come in. Further empowering the cartels will also destabilize Mexico and encourage more atrocities there. Just from a moral standpoint, we should not be doing anything to cause chaos in another country. Those lives are every bit as valuable as Hoosier lives and we should not wantonly subject them to more violence.

So what is the solution? We need to stop treating drug abuse like a literal war and instead treat it like a public health problem. Drug addicts need treatment, not jail. It is far less expensive to help someone beat his addiction than to send him to jail, where he will only re-offend once he gets out. We need fewer addicts, not an expansion of the failed War on Drugs. Empowering drug cartels (like we empowered the Mafia with Prohibition) and restricting the liberty of law-abiding citizens is not the solution to drug abuse.