Should Springfield Require Prescriptions For Cold Medicine?
The question of whether to require a prescription for cold medicine that can be used to make meth is a difficult one. Tonight, the Springfield City Council may vote on an ordinance requiring prescriptions for many cold and allergy medicines.
Generally speaking, my own opinion on drug policy is that we should be spending much more on treatment and education and much less on incarceration and interdiction. More on point, I have never understood the desire to address the illegal use of a legal product by imposing onerous requirements on the people who use it legally.
I don’t have serious allergies, nor do I get many colds, but I know people who do. (I am sure we all know people who do.) I can’t get behind rules that are going to impose new regulations on people who simply want to treat a cold, allergies, or some other readily treatable illness. I simply cannot understand the desire to make their lives harder. And yes, forcing an unnecessary visit to the doctor’s office — even if infrequently — to get a prescription for cold or allergy medicine makes a person’s life harder. We already have a tracking system in place for purchases of medicine that can be used to make meth. Sure, it can be abused through straw purchasers, but some people can (and will) get around and abuse any system.
If someone is abusing meth, we should help him or her get treatment. If they commit a crime to support their habit, then we should send them to jail, perhaps for a long time. But just moving the sales around with some places requiring prescriptions seems fruitless. Addressing that criticism with a statewide requirement to get a prescription seems like a royal pain for the many Missourians who simply want to treat their allergies or colds.
Address the crime; don’t punish the law-abiding.