Pubdate: Mon, 04 Dec 2006
Source: Orlando Sentinel (FL)
Copyright: 2006 Orlando Sentinel
Author: Anthony Papa


In response to "Methamphetamine abuse affects us all" by Alberto R.
Gonzales: President Bush declared Nov. 30 National Methamphetamine
Awareness Day. It is a day in which the government establishes the
concrete ability to control your life through the hype of a drug epidemic.

The war on drugs has created convenient vehicles of looking tough on
crime while hiding behind the shield of public safety. But that shield
gets worn down when our basic rights are curtailed through its use. On
Sept. 30, a new federal law went into effect that forces cold
sufferers to jump through ridiculous hoops to purchase what were
originally over-the-counter medications.

Customers with colds now must present a photo ID and sign a log in
order to purchase cold and allergy medicines containing
pseudoephedrine, ephedrine and phenylephrine -- precursor drugs that
can be used to manufacture meth. There are an estimated 34 different
chemicals found in common household products such as lighter fluid,
road flares and matches that can also be used to make meth. Are we
going to create similar laws to restrict purchases of all those items
as well?

We need to invest scarce public resources into educating the public
about the use of meth and providing high-quality treatment options to
fight addiction, not create an intrusive public registry or layer on
ineffective bureaucratic busy work.

Meth Day is another law-enforcement tool that leads to the further
erosion of our precious civil liberties. It might not be apparent now,
but neither was our right to not be hassled when buying cold medicine
before the law changed.

Anthony Papa

Communications Specialist

Drug Policy Alliance

New York, N.Y.
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