Punishing everyone for the sins of a few [purchasing drugs previously available OTC]

I went on my Claritin run today. In NJ you take a Claritin card and the pharmacy scans your driver’s license, you sign for it, then score
your drugs. It’s annoying, especially when there’s a long line of customers arguing with pharmacy techs about RXs.

I’m wondering if the law does much more than inconvenience People Who Do Bad Stuff with (formerly) OTC drugs. I think I have this right, but I pasted the rules below: it appears that someone can buy up to three packages of stuff containing ephedrine daily(?) If this is so, wouldn’t a meth cooker just hire a cadre of buyers to hit Rite Aid and buy their daily limit? Does meth cooking require so many packages of cold/allergy stuff that the law does have a significant effect on production?

On a lighter note: a PetSmart in urban NJ has a sign on the door asking customers to not bring horses into the store. I would love to know what led to this rule!

NJ purchase laws:
The law allows
No more than three packages, or any number of packages that
contain a total of nine grams, of any drug containing a sole active
ingredient of ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, phenylpropanolamine, or
any of their salts, optical isomers or salts of optical isomers.
 No more than three packages of any combination drug containing,
as one of its active ingredients, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine,
phenylpropanolamine or any of their salts, optical isomers, or salts
of optical isomers, or any number of packages of such combination
drug that contain a total of nine grams of ephedrine,
pseudoephedrine, phenylpropanolamine, or any of their salts, optical
isomers or salts of optical isomers.
Sales limit – daily None, other than the single transaction limit

According to this, it’s helped to shut down meth production in Missouri.

Unfortunately, they all moved to Mexico.

Interesting article, thanks.

According to the interwebs (where only true things are posted) two Sudafed packages and the other ingredients can be shaken up in a Sprite bottle to make insty-meth.

I’m hoping NearWildHeaven will pop in with interesting knowledge.

Judging from your situation, you’re buying Claritin-D, not just Claritin.

Not a doctor, but I’ll ask: do you really need the decongestant? Drop that and the problem goes away, because the “decongestant” part is what runs you afoul of that inconvenient law.

ETA: I will add that I’m philosophically opposed to combination drugs anyway. I’ll buy Claritin and a separate decongestant and take the decongestant only when I know I need it.

A lot of laws punish us all for the sins (or poor choices) of a few; some targeted OTC isn’t real different there. It comes down to does it work? From what I see at biker events, it hasn’t cut the supply very much if at all. If I talk to police they feel its cut down or totally eliminated the small-batch-once-for-kicks chemist who posed the largest danger to the public (and neighbors) at large. With inner ear issues as well as the congestion I am in the same boat as you (PA is one box of 30 like every couple months or something like that, show and scan your drivers license, and its a pain) but I can live with it for now.

My gf likes to keep Sudafed in the house for her occasional sinus headaches that she says respond well to the medication.

I was surprised the first time I picked up a box for her. I did not realize there was paperwork. When all was said and done I said, “wow, after all that it would be a shame* not* to make meth”. The pharmacy person glared at me.

Thread title edited for [del]Claritin[/del] clarity.

I’m on Claritin-D 24 hr pretty much daily about half the year, maybe more if it’s a bad allergy year (as it is this year). Our rules are similar, up to three packages containing a total of no more than 9 grams. It’s frustrating since one person in the family cannot go and buy all the allergy meds for the whole family for a month.

Per 30 days, correct?

Also: this is federal law, not a state-by-state thing, isn’t it?

I was wondering re: the 9 grams thing. I didn’t know the specifics of the law, and had never put pen to paper.

A 24-pack of Zyrtek-D has 24 tablets each containing 120 mg of pseudoephedrine. 24 x 120 mg totals 2,880 mg, or 2.88 grams. Three 24-tablet packages would total 8.64 grams of pseudoephedrine.

Sure, the meth cooker could hire a cadre of buyers (referred to as “smurfing”) but that would (1) increase the meth cooker’s labor costs, reducing the profitability of cooking meth, and (2) increase the number of people who know who the meth cooker is, increasing the risk that one of them gets arrested and turns in the meth cooker. Lower profitability and greater risk of arrest should lead to fewer meth cookers, assisting law enforcement’s objective.

The GAO found that retail pseudoephedrine sales restrictions led to a short-term drop in the number of meth labs in America until meth cookers started to use smurfs. It also made it easier for law enforcement to detect diversion of pseudoephedrine to meth production. Requiring a prescription for pseudoephedrine has reduced the number of meth labs in the two states that had such a requirement but it’s unclear to me whether the requirement just pushed meth production from those states to others without the prescription requirement.

I’ve tried other combos, but Claritin-D is the only stuff that works well for all my miseries and doesn’t give me bad insomnia. I didn’t have pollen allergies until I moved to NJ from So Cal and I got hit hard.

Man, I can’t believe I missed this punpopportunity! Thx.

I made a similar crack once and the pharmacist was less than amused. Another side to this whole thing is the price gouging – I pay $17.99 for 10 pills. Were OTC allergy drugs cheaper before the new laws? I can’t recall.

I used to find the Claritin rules beyond annoying, it’s easier to buy a gun than a package of allergy meds. But, I got a prescription from my primary care doctor and it is much easier than way. Plus, I can use HSA money to pay for it.

Yep, the price increase is to cover the cost of record keeping, etc.

The sad thing is that real pseudoephedrine is really good at clearing up sinus congestion, at least for me. So every year or two, when I get a head cold, I buy a package of it. Except that I only need it for a couple of days, so the smallest package, with just ten or twelve pills would be enough, but often the drugstore only has the giant package with 36 (or more) pills. So I buy that, and then most of it passes the expiration date.

And I remember thirty years ago as an undergraduate, if you went to the campus infirmary, they’d just hand you a small envelope with ten or so generic pseudoephedrine pills.

A lot of expiration dates can be ignored; do some research on the drug in question.

Well, I see your pseudo-e and raise you OTC paregoric! For younger Dopers, paregoric is an opiate cough medicine that was often used for respiratory and digestive illnesses in kids. It became a Schedule III drug in the early 1970s.

Huh. I took Claritin for years and always thought the -D was the non-drowsy version, not a decongestant version.

You’re all lucky he got here first!