Restrictions on the sale of pseudoephedrine to behind the counter have caused at least 2 unintended consequences that I'm aware of.
1. The shake and bake method. This method for the production of meth is a direct response to the government's attempted regulation of pseudoephedrine as a method to control the production or meth. I would argue that the shake an bake method has actually made the problem worse. I might be surprised, but I'm never shocked to find that government meddling produces the opposite intended result. The entire Obama presidency has been a case study to this truism. Laws meant to grow the economy produce the opposite effect. Try to create jobs...the unemployment rate rises; try to protect consumers against bank fees, and bank fees get worse; try to make healthcare more affordable and accessible, it becomes harder to get and more expensive. Attempts to regulate pseudoephedrine have been no exception.
2. An increase in the use of phenylephrine as a replacement for pseudoephedrine . This might be great except that there is no evidence that phenylephrine, when taken orally, actually works. A fact that seems to escape those who would point to phenylephrine as an excuse to restrict pseudoephedrine . The truth is that studies show that phenylephrine doesn't work as a decongestant.
Phenylephrine is a poor substitute for pseudoephedrine as an orally administered decongestant as it is extensively metabolized in the gut and its efficacy as a decongestant is unproven
No support has been found in the literature in the public domain for the efficacy of phenylephrine as a nasal decongestant when administered orally.
In view of the extensive metabolism of phenylephrine in the gut wall, it seems unlikely that phenylephrine is an effective oral nasal decongestant
Because successive crackdowns on pseudoephedrine have failed to produce the desired effect on meth production, Oklahoma legislators would now restrict the sale of pseudoephedrine only to those with a prescription. I can only surmise that the assumption on the part of legislators is that making pseudoephedrine available only by prescription will stop or severally limit the production of meth. I have to ask if they have any hard data to support this? The government's own study into prescription drug abuse shows a 400% increase in abuse from 1998 to 2008, with almost 10% of people over the age of 12 admitting to prescription drug abuse. If making a drugs available by prescription only were the solution I would think that prescription drug abuse would be less rampant. Where are 1 out of 10 of us getting these drugs? What evidence is there that limiting pseudoephedrine to prescription only will keep it out of the hands of meth producers?
I suspect that this course of action will have the following impacts.
1. As before, meth production will not be hampered as makers will get their drugs by prescription via a network of "allergy sufferers", or by going across state lines to get their pseudoephedrin.
2. The ability of law abiding citizens to procure the only drug that seems to be affective to end their seasonal suffering will be hampered. Most people have precious little time or money to go to the doctor as it is, this unnecessary requirement will just be an extra hurdle. One that I'm afraid will be insurmountable for the lower-middle and lower class.
3. When lawmakers realize that their law has done nothing except cause problems for seasonal allergy sufferers, they will attempt to outlaw pseudoephedrine altogether.
Since Liberals and Democrats love regulation and government meddling, I will give them a pass on this legislation. I will hold Oklahoma Republicans responsible for this. I don't see them rushing to regulate guns or bullets as a method to reduce gun crime. Most of our conservative Republican law makers would see this as folly because they know that law breakers will break the law, and such regulation would only serve to hurt law abiding citizens. However when it comes to regulating pseudoephedrine somehow the same logic doesn't apply. The we-have-to-do-something-now mentality has taken hold, and they are ready to regulate, restrict and meddle in our lives, consequence be dammed.
When this law fails to produce the desired effect, causing only unintended consequences on our health care system and hardship for seasonal allergy sufferers, don't say I didn't tell you so....remember who is to blame.