I tried to buy some drugs on Friday, but alas, my criminal behavior was caught and I was not able to score any.
No, I wasn't trying to buy crack, or weed, or anything else that's sold in plastic bags by guys on street corners of Baltimore's less-fine neighborhoods. I was trying to buy Allegra-D at Target, but evidently I'd bought too much this month and was shut down after they scanned my license.
Allegra D contains pseudophedrine, which can be used to make meth, in addition to making it so madanthony can breathe. It used to be prescription, so I wasn't even aware of this until about 2 months ago, when it became over the counter. Which not only meant that it was costing me more out of pocket, because instead of just a copay with my insurance picking up the rest, I'm paying the full dollar-plus per pill. Worse, though, is that instead of the 90-day supply I had before, I'm forced to go to the pharmacy pretty much weekly to pick up a 10 pack. It's kind of a pain, because I usually am at the gym until close to 8pm, and the pharmacy at Target closes at 9pm, so I'm cutting it pretty close. As a result, I generally try to pick up a package anytime I'm there and the pharmacy is open. Including Friday - I had the day off (yeah working in higher ed and it's generous 4-day Memorial Day weekend) and tried to buy a package, only to have the machine beep when they scanned my license and print out a receipt saying that I'd tried to purchase too many of a restricted item.
The most frustrating thing about it is that neither of the employees at the pharmacy could tell me what the legal limit was, or when I'd last purchased it, or when I could purchase it again - one person thought it was every 7 days, another thought it was every 10. It turns out they were - it's not a weekly limit, but a 30 day limit of what works out to 3 packages of Allegra D every 30 days.
A while back, Megan McCardle had a pretty interesting look at the cost-benefits of psudoephedrine bans - which I didn't think much of at the time because my Allegra was still by prescription. But now that I basically have to jump through hoops to get a legal, effective drug for an actual medical condition, just because it can be used to make an illegal drug. I don't like that the government is storing my license data for 2 years, that the law is being enforced by retailers whose employees don't even know what the law is, that I'm being treated like a criminal for having a stuffy nose or fluid-filled ears. It seems absurd to me that I can buy enough rotgut vodka to drink myself into a coma, and maybe I'll have to show an ID if the clerk is unusually cautious, but I can't buy allergy medicine without joining a government database.
This is truly government as big brother at it's most absurd - in order to prevent harm to a hypothetical third-party that might misuse a perfectly legal product, I pretty much have to rearrange my schedule and make 37 trips a year to a pharmacy counter to buy a legal drug, one that I was at one point prescribed by a doctor, for a stuffy nose.
If any politician made repealing the Combat Methamphetamine Act of 2005 a platform of their campaign, I guarantee that would capture the allergy-sufferer vote. And that's nothing to sneeze at.