News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2006
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SCOTT MORRIS

Battle against meth nothing to sneeze at

We allergy sufferers are tired of being treated like criminals.

Claritin-D, old-school Sudafed and their generic siblings work great for our congestion and run-ny noses, but the government crackdown on methampheta-
mine makes obtaining them
about as much hassle as buying a house.

Quick relief is no longer an option.

First, you have to hope that the pharmacy is open when you need help. You have to let a pharmacy clerk examine your driver license. Then you fill out paperwork and sign your name, all for a few days' dosage.

The end result is undeserved scrutiny for law-abiding citizens.

We allergy sufferers can understand the need to control these former over-the-counter drugs.

Just like the thieves who turned our country into a land of locked doors, the meth cooks ruined a good thing for everybody.

But, most of us aren't meth heads and we don't like being treated like them.

Law enforcement agencies say the allergy-drug crackdown has reduced the number of illegal meth labs in the U.S. But, like so many other forms of manufacturing, the work has simply shifted to Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and other countries.

Some of the dealers arrested here are in our country illegally. This highlights the fact that our government is more adept at documenting a box of Sudafed than at controlling millions of illegal aliens.

"The amount of manufacturing is slowing down, but the amount of use is still on the rise," drug agent Jon Patrick recently told the Bedford Times in Indiana.

A PBS "Frontline" report estimated we have about 1.4 million meth users in this country. A federal drug agent who recently visited Decatur said nine out of every 10 of them will end up dead or in prison.

That makes the fight to eliminate meth a worthy pursuit, but so far the results show what every other drug war has shown: Supply will always find a way to meet demand.

A lot of smart people have tried to solve the drug problem without success.

All I know is this.

Something is wrong when it's easier to buy a trunkload of beer than a palm-size box of decongestants.

Scott Morris is the Daily's managing editor. He can be reached at smorris@decaturdaily.com.

Scott Morris Scott Morris
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