The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005
This legislation [Note: opens as a PDF file. Adobe Acrobat required] is part of a bill to amend the PATRIOT Act. As of February 2006, it is pending a vote in the Senate where the anti-terror bill had undergone a highly contested debate over its renewal. Backed by the bipartisan Congressional Meth Caucus, the Combat Meth Act would:
- Nationalize restrictions on retail sales by requiring ephedrine and pseudoephedrine products to be kept behind the counter or in a locked case; require purchasers to buy no more than 3.6 grams a day and 9 grams a month, show I.D. and sign a sales log, and require employees handling the products to be properly trained
- Toughen penalties against meth kingpins and smugglers and also meth cooks who endanger children or use federal property
- Step up the government's authority to monitor the flow of precursor chemicals from foreign manufacturers, including withholding aid to countries who are not fully cooperating with U.S. law enforcement
- Hold precursor chemical importers and exporters accountable if their product is diverted for illicit use
- Increase funding for assistance programs such as drug courts and those helping mothers or drug-endangered children
- Impose on manufacturers quotas for production and import of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine
- Pledge support to Mexico in its efforts to curb methamphetamine production
Although many people use ephedrine as a workout aid, many more use it to relieve sinuses and allergy symptoms - making it even more difficult to get the treatment their require, especially if they are lacking in health insurance, which many Americans are.
Ephedrine, which has been replaced more and more by pseudoephedrine in over the counter cold remedies, is now being being practically removed completely. Consumers are now forced to purchase medicine that contains the understudied ingredient phenylephrine, which works as a non stimulant decongestant.
Ephedrine can still be purchased in the form of VasoPro, combined with guaifenesin or in pure form from D&E (drivers license required). After the legislation takes effect, ephedrine will probably start showing up on the underground at much higher cost.
FRONTLINE: the meth epidemic: the u.s. national strategy | PBS