Anti-Meth Laws Have Created Black Market in Cold Pills, AP Reports

The Associated Press is still on a roll. We reported last week on the AP's "occasional series" on the failures of drug prohibition, and now the news organization is out with another devastating piece of reporting, this time on the unintended consequences of laws designed to stifle home methamphetamine manufacture.

Smurf alert! anti-meth laws create new black market
In a Monday "AP IMPACT" article (not part of the "occasional series) titled Meth Flourishes Despite Tracking Laws, AP reported that state laws mandating electronic monitoring systems to track purchases of legal cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine that are used in meth manufacture "not only failed to curb the meth trade," but "also created a vast and highly lucrative market for profiteers to buy over-the-counter pills and sell them to meth producers at a huge markup."

Because of booming demand created in large part by the tracking laws, pill buyers can buy a box of pills for $7 or $8 and resell them for $40 to $50. That has created whole networks of people who "smurf," or make repeated small purchases of the cold pills and then sell them to meth cooks. Some are not even interested in meth, but can be homeless people looking for a few bucks or even college kids seeking weekend beer money.

"It's almost like a sub-criminal culture," DEA agent Gary Boggs told the AP. "You'll see them with a GPS unit set up in a van with a list of every single pharmacy or retail outlet. They'll spend the entire week going store to store and buy to the limit."

The electronic monitoring laws "invite more people into the criminal activity because the black market price of the product becomes so much more profitable," said rural Missouri detective Jason Grellner. "Where else can you make a 750% profit in 45 minutes?" asked Grellner, former president of the Missouri Narcotics Officers Association.

Looking at DEA data from 2000 to 2009, the AP found that the number of meth busts has started climbing again since tracking laws were enacted beginning in 2006. Meth-related activity, including arrests, drug seizures, and the discovery of abandoned meth cooking sites, was up 34% in 2009, the news organization found. In the three states -- Arkansas, Kentucky, and Oklahoma -- that have electronically tracked cold pill sales since 2008, the 2009 increase was nearly double the national increase, at 67%.

The report also found that while the tracking laws had a strong initial impact, meth producers quickly turned to smurfing to obtain the pseudoephedrine they needed. By 2009, the DEA reported 10,064 meth-related incidents, a 62% rise over the previous two years.

The AP did note that Oregon, which began requiring a prescription for pseudoephedrine products in 2006, had seemingly been successful in repressing meth cooking. It had 191 meth-related incidents in 2005 and only 12 in 2009. But that law has left hundreds of thousands of law-abiding consumers suffering because of the actions of a few.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

prohibition

drug prohibition is the taxpayer funded gift that just keeps on giving .

undrgrndgirl's picture

omg!

omg!  like...no way!!

 

/snark off/

Prohibition

For every prohibition you create you also create an underground.  ~Jello Biafra

Point proven.

meth? nothing new in drug war

We've been here before.

The current meth plague begins with Big Government (alias Tobacco)  using spy planes and electric meter monitoring to crack down on "grow houses".  Those who were In It For The Money abandoned cannabis and switched to meth which is easier to produce clandestinely.

Before that, the l980's saw US planes spray paraquat on cannabis crops in Colombia, whereupon those who were In It For The Money switched to cocaine.

In the l970's the US suppressed the hashish crop in Afghanistan, and today Afghanistan produces 90% of the world's heroin. 

There is no disaster Big 2WackGo (through its stooge US government and military) won't tolerate in order to fend off its nemesis, cannabis (and low-dosage utensils, vaporizers etc. to replace the high profit cigarette).  That's where to start in order to understand the Drug War.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <i> <blockquote> <p> <address> <pre> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <br> <b>

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School