The last time I bought Ny-Quil, there was a remark on the receipt about it being a restricted quantity item. At the time I assumed people were abusing it somehow, but I never got around to looking it up.
Now I know why. Apparently, pseudoephedrine can be used to make methamphetamine, and some states are considering further restricting sales of over-the-counter drugs like Ny-Quil and Sudafed—making people ask a pharmacist, for example, so sales can be tracked more easily. (At present, California only restricts the quantity bought in a single purchase, which is completely non-intrusive to people who just want to breathe comfortably for the next week.)
Y’know, I have no problem with limiting the quantities purchased (as long as the limits are reasonable), and I can live with standing in line at the pharmacy if I have to—but some of the suggestions are to require you to “show identification—and even enter [your] addresses in a law enforcement database.” Excuse me? What do the police care if I have a cold? New! More government scrutiny of your life, brought to you by the War on Drugs(tm)!
As to the likely success of this effort, consider this quote from the the LA Times article:
As much as 80% of the methamphetamine available in the U.S. comes from organized crime rings cooking up huge quantities of the drug in California or across the border in Mexico. Restrictions on sales of Sudafed would do little to stop them.
The controls are aimed, instead, at meth brewed in small makeshift labs, primarily in the Midwest.
Great, so having the police track people who get colds will accomplish at most a 20% reduction in supply… until meth addicts cook up a new recipe that doesn’t use Sudafed.