Runny Nose? You’ll Need a Prescription for That.

By Dirk Hanson 03/28/11
See your doctor.
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The fight against methedrine production has been going so badly that several states are on the verge of requiring a doctor’s prescription for common cold and allergy medications like Sudafed and Dimetapp. Pseudoephedrine, the active ingredient in such pills, is the precursor drug for the manufacture of meth. The New York Times reports that Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force director Thomas N. Farmer called the prescription-only move “a no-brainer.” Farmer said that “this has got to be the next step.” So far, only Mississippi and Oregon have switched to prescription-only pseudoephedrine. The director of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics said that the switch to prescriptions has cut down on “smurfers” buying the precursor drug at several location. But trade groups representing over-the-counter drug makers said such laws would not stop the importation of truckloads of pseudoephedrine from Mexico. Drug makers prefer the idea of an interstate electronic tracking system instead, but little old ladies who rely on Actifed during hay fever season are likely to find themselves in need of a prescription and a valid ID.

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Dirk Hanson, MA, is a freelance science writer and the author of The Chemical Carousel: What Science Tells Us About Beating Addiction. He is also the author of The New Alchemists: Silicon Valley and the Microelectronics Revolution. He has worked as a business and science reporter for numerous magazines and trade publications including Wired, Scientific American, The Dana Foundation and more. He currently edits the Addiction Inbox blog. Email: [email protected]