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Drug War Follies: Iowa Anti-Meth Pseudoephedrine Law Snags Nasal Congestion Sufferer

As part of its effort to wipe out methamphetamine, and especially home-cooked meth, the state of Iowa enacted a law limiting the amount of pseudoephedrine people could purchase in a 24-hour period or in a month. The idea was to crack down on people who used the ingredient in popular cold and allergy medications to make their own meth.
sinus sufferers beware -- of the cops!
But the law of unintended consequences struck again this month -- or in the case of loal sheriffs, perhaps intended consequences -- this time landing squarely on the head of a Mason City man who knows nothing about meth, but knows a lot about suffering from chronic nasal congestion. Gary Schinagel, 47, a senior investment associate at Principal Financial Group in Mason City, was arrested for the illegal purchase of pseudoephedrine after buying generic cold medicines to treat his condition.

Schinagel told the Mason City Globe Gazette his through-the-looking-glass encounter with the drug war began when his niece called him and told him he had been listed in a newspaper article as one of the uncaught miscreants in a roundup of violators of the cold medicine law. Schinagel went to the sheriff's office thinking he could clear up the "mistake," but was instead arrested.

"It is a sinking feeling to be placed under arrest," said Schinagel. "I'm not a stick-in-the-mud but I've tried all my life to abide by the law and not cross any lines I shouldn't cross. I've tried all my life to avoid situations like I find myself in now. And I still don't know which line I crossed," he said, wondering if he had purchased too many pills in one day or in one month.

He had to call his bank to get the $1,000 bail bond needed to get him out of jail. "It was embarrassing," he said. "The woman at the bank recognized my voice. I sang in the choir with her."

No word yet on apologies from the cops or when his charges will be dropped. In the meantime, Schinagel is taking cold pills that don't contain pseudoephedrine. They don't work as well, he said, and he has to buy more boxes. One more example of collateral damage in the drug war.

But Schinagel is more understanding than the police who arrested him after he came to the station to straighten out the mess. "Laws are made because there are some bad people out there and it's too bad that sometimes innocent victims get caught up in it," he said. "I understand the law -- but I will say there are some quirks in it."

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Schinagel should have called his lawyer, first n/t


Your first mistake...

Never go to the police station to 'clear up the misunderstanding'. Talk about sticking your head in the lion's mouth.

He should have smelled a

He should have smelled a trap...What Mexicans call a "gringo"...


Just how MANY boxes did he buy?? I have to say I'm a little suspicious myself!

This is what made me realize the war on drugs had gone too far

I have chronic sinus problems as well. As far as I know, Washington state hasn't placed limits on how much pseudoephedrine a person can buy, but we have to fill out a form at the pharmacy, and they need to check your drivers licence, in order to buy any. My wife went to buy some for me one time, and having put my name down, then discovered she had to wait until I could get there to actually buy any. It would almost be easier to go to a doctor and get a prescription!

The most rediculous part about this is that restricting access to pseudoephedrine just forces the Meth brewers to use other, more toxic, source ingredients, making the process that much more dangerous to the producers and those around them.

IOWA (living in the stone age)

Iowa has some of the most Red Neck behavior towards anyone, who even remotely thinks about the word Drugs. Guilty until proven innocent, should be Iowa's state motto! If this gentleman gets arrested for having a sinus condition, what comes next? Hauling away people in the middle of the night from their homes, to incarcerate them?
One of my friends is serving time in a Federal Penitentiary on marijuana charges stemming from living in IOWA.(come on folks, wake up!)
I feel bad for this guy, he needs to lawyer up and sue those ass-holes for the embarrassment they've cause him and his family...enough of this behavior!
America is acting like a 3rd world country, not like a proud world leader.
VOTE this November and make these Garbage laws change!!!

re: Iowa (living in the stone age)

Not quite. I was transplanted there from CA at the age of 8 (long story) and ended up getting my BA from the U of Iowa. There are a lot of progressive people in the state, especially the eastern portion, and there is work underway to change the laws. I worked with Progressive Approach, an attempt to get a ballot initiative that would have legalized med mj. There are actually a lot of Iowans interested in decriminalization, but i think the meth problem is so bad that it tends to direct a lot of negativity toward all "illicit' drugs. That's where the work needs to go in the future, i think.

Going, going, gone

"Laws are made because there are some bad people out there and it's too bad that sometimes innocent victims get caught up in it," he said. "I understand the law -- but I will say there are some quirks in it."

OMG!!! "...its too bad...innocent victims get caught..."

I simply cannot believe the mindset of this kind of a person!! No wonder the government is getting away with slowly but certainly taking our rights away from us.

Slowly we are becoming the Fascist States of America. It's our own fault for not stopping the government. It no longer is a government of the-, by the-, and for the people.

extreme nonsense and/or just plain malice

even if the law is stupid, it could at least be better crafted. I mean, if they decide you can't buy a certain amount of pseudoephedrine in a 24 hour period or a month, why do they let people buy that amount in the first place, then put them in a list of "wanted people", put that list in the newspaper, and in the end arrest people for it? Why should anyone be arrested for it at all, if you could just tell people at the counter "sir, i'm sorry, but we can't sell you this amount of pseudoephedrine today". i smell that the people who wrote the law wanted to let people be able to buy the medicine, and wanted to be able to go after them (for the enjoyment of the cops perhaps?), and be able to arrest them.

extreme nonsense and/or just plain malice

I absolutely agree with this comment. It all comes back to the old addage, "Give them enough rope to hang themselves". When I consider the 2005 law and its scope and consequences, all I can think is that it is a convenient way for the police to legally practice entrapment.


now you really need to worry the police can arest you for having a runny nose and they will say you snotted a bit too much.....what this USA is coming to when the hempen paper of the constitution is being shit on by the day...this is just another sickenning story of our tax dollars hardly at work for us. if i was him i would sue the balls off of them and move to another state . theses stupid little things are why our country is going down the toilet thanks idaho way to waste our tax $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Just how MANY boxes did he

Just how MANY boxes did he buy?? I have to say I'm a little suspicious myself!

You're also a lot stupid.

how many boxes did he buy??

Well since you can only buy one damn box at a time how many boxes do you figure he bought??

Legislative Crime Breeds Police Crime

Laws (excuse me, statutes) as these are unconstitutional. PERIOD.

No level of government has any legitimacy in telling adults what they may consume.

All such laws against adults sanction police and prosecutorial crimes of kidnapping and extortion; a legitimate federal government would shut down any such criminal court, and arrest the prosecutors and judges for kidnapping and extortion.

10.32(3) Frequency and

10.32(3) Frequency and quantity. Dispensing at retail to the same purchaser within any 30-day period shall be limited to products collectively containing no more than 7,500 mg of ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, or phenylpropanolamine; dispensing at retail to the same purchaser within a single calendar day shall not exceed 3,600 mg.

12 hr pseudophed is 120 mg and the 4-6 hr pseudophen is 30 mg per tablet.

Do the math. It makes 30 tablets of the 12 hr max per day or 62.5 tablets per 30 day period. If he's taking it as directed, he would only need 60 tablets for 30 days.

Or that's 120 tablets of teh 4-6 hour dosage form in a day or 250 tablets in a 30 day period.

It's close and possible that he purchased too much. I'm not taking a stance on this issue either way. Just wanted to share what iowa law says exactly regarding quantity.

The Progressive Lie

"As far as I know, Washington state hasn't placed limits on how much pseudoephedrine a person can buy"

"I worked with Progressive Approach, an attempt to get a ballot initiative that would have legalized med mj. "

"Slowly we are becoming the Fascist States of America."

Some of you don't seem to realize that there is a federal law superceding the state laws now, included in the second Patriot Act(so now I'm a terrorist for using pseudoephedrine?) and written by the hero of all progressives, Diane Feinstein. Inclusion of the persecute sinusitis law was the sticking point required by the socialists/progressives in order to allow the fascists the rest of the second patriot act. The act even bears the name Feinstein, though both parties claimed it as a victory. So these people who want to legalize drugs so that you can drive around on the streets freely while doped up on narcotics, don't want those of us with sinusitis to breath freely.

As someone who suffered great harm and more than $26,000 in medical bills that may have been prevented or at least delayed if pseudoephedrine had been available in my time of emergency, I think its time we stop taking sides and get honest about both parties. They're a bunch of liars who always marginalize and attack those who can't fight back in order to win popularity contests (now members of both parties are telling anyone who'll listen about how they saved thousands of lives by slowing meth arrests in favor of pseudoephedrine arrests: whole debate topic of its own). They're all about power. They don't care about anything else, and this law proves that. Does anyone in the world really believe it is better to protect people who choose to use drugs from themselves by persecuting those who want to breath? The DNC and RNC both officially agree that those with sinusitis should be punished for the meth epidemic in rural America.

"Do the math. It makes 30 tablets of the 12 hr max per day or 62.5 tablets per 30 day period. If he's taking it as directed, he would only need 60 tablets for 30 days."

If you take as directed you'll develop resistance by the third day and rebound by the end of the week. I have to take 120mg every 12 hours the first day and every 8 hours the second day and every 6 hours thereafter. This is a relatively safe drug we're talking about, with the only side effect risk with pseudoephedrine being to those with narrowed or blocked arteries, abnormally strong responsiveness (extremely rare) which may lead to the closing of the arteries, or failure to get adequate oxygen through the blood stream by an out of shape individual doing extremely intensive physical activity.

Not even about the amount on an over the counter med

Logbooks administered by the state and filled out by pharmacist check by pharmacist should be covered under patient confidentiality to my knowledge you're not supposed to take any information on those logs are supposed to check to see if those laws are filled out correctly I myself was convicted for too many purchases and 24 hour. Even though my daily limit I was well underneath so everyone wants to do the math there's the math

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