Drug companies battle meth scourge
As the highly addictive drug spreads across urban communities, pharmaceutical companies are looking for ways to combat production.
Meth is a horrifying drug. It's very addictive and destructive, not only to people but to local economies.
Just 20 years ago, methamphetamine was considered a mostly rural problem. Its smelly, highly toxic and dangerous cooking process was best suited to remote locations.
But meth abuse has spread rapidly across the country. According to last year’s Department of Justice National Drug Treat Assessment, methamphetamine was considered the greatest drug threat by state and local agencies in the Western and Pacific states, and second only to cocaine in the Southeastern U.S. And a national survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration reports that meth addicts commit anywhere from 50% to 70% of all property crimes.
The financial fallout from methamphetamine is also startling. A RAND Corporation study found meth abuse had an overall economic cost of $23.4 billion in the U.S. in 2005 -- including losses from methamphetamine-related crime, premature deaths, drug treatment and family services, lost job productivity, property destruction and hazardous waste removal.
A new Associated Press investigation, meanwhile, finds meth lab seizures by law enforcement have skyrocketed over the past several years in major American cities like Nashville, Kansas City and Evansville, Ind.
Mexican drug cartels still produce and traffic the lion’s share of methamphetamine found in the U.S. But the drug is becoming easier to produce.
Methamphetamine's key ingredient is pseudoephedrine, a common decongestant found in cold and allergy medicines. The federal Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 (CMEA) regulated and limited retail sales of pseudoephedrine and other related drugs. But the meth producers have found ways around these obstacles.
"As laws limited the availability of pseudoephedrine, meth-makers adjusted with a faster process that creates smaller batches simply by combining ingredients -- mixing cold pills with toxic substances such as battery acid or drain cleaner -- in 2-liter soda bottles," reports AP.
This so-called "shake-and-bake" method of meth is not only fast but very portable, making it perfect for distribution in urban environments.
But there might be a game-changer coming into play when it comes to methamphetamine production. Several drug companies are working on new pseudoephedrine formulas that reportedly disrupt the drug’s conversion into methamphetamine.
Earlier this month St. Louis' Westport Pharmaceuticals launched the sale of its Zephrex-D, a tamper-resistant pseudoephedrine-based decongestant, in retail stores across Missouri.
Because it contains pseudoephedrine, Zephrex-D must be sold behind pharmacy counters or by prescription. But the company has applied to a federal government for an exemption.
"This exemption would enable retailers to place Zephrex-D back in their OTC (over the counter) sections, return direct consumer access to pseudoephedrine, save time and administrative costs for pharmacists, all while helping to reduce methamphetamine-related crime," Westport vice president and general manager Paul Hemings told Drug Store News. "Consumers win, retailers win and 'meth cooks' lose."
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I think they need to go the other way, add a chemical that when smoked as meth kills the methhead instantly.
"Consumers win, retailers win and 'meth cooks' lose."
- and drug cartels win more of the market
Big Pharma MONOPOLIES are some of the worst scourges to plague America and our health.
This is an issue that needs to be taken care of immediately, and seeing it first hand, drastic measures need to be taken by getting rid of the cause. Too bad "certain areas" are worried about making money, than getting rid of a nuisance by depleting the source.
Something to think about: If I go into a legal drug dealers business (drug store) and buy certain chemincals that could be used to make meth, I will be reported to the local police and they will watch me. They will likely pay me a visit to see if I am making meth, and if so, I will be escorted to jail, fined and probably imprisioned. BUT, I can go into the same legal drug dealers business and have another prescription of a legal drug dealer (doctor) filled every week for almost a year and NOT ONE WORD will be mentioned to me or to the police about the destructive side effects caused by their legal drug. America is out for MONEY! The legal drug lords want it all. They don't want the meth makers to have their two dollars. Govenment doesn't care about you or your life! They care about tax money!
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