by Max Brantley
I see Arkansas legislators haven't given up their view that effective over-the-counter cold medicine is the only reason for the presence of methamphetamine. One legislator, Rep. Marshall Wright, wants to require a prescription to obtain such medicine, because it can be used to make meth. Sen. Percy Malone, a pharmacist, recognizes this idea will add the cost of a doctor's visit — not to mention a miserable delay — to getting a useful, low-cost drug in the mouths of people who need it. But he's willing to make purchase of the medicine open only to Arkansas residents, to stop the supposed huge trafficking by out-of-staters driven to Arkansas to purchase cold pills that are harder to obtain in Mississippi.
Most methamphetamine is now produced outside the U.S. and smuggled in, just like all the other drugs we've tried vainly to stamp out. Lawmakers who think there's a "silver bullet" in making good cold medicine difficult to obtain continue the failed wack-a-mole method of waging the war on drugs.
INTERSTATE COMMERCE CLAUSE ALERT: Can it possibly be constitutional to allow sales of cold and allergy medicines only to Arkansas residents and not to the poor, suffering interstate trucker or other traveler who asks for some Sudafed or Contac at a
truck stop drugstore and can't produce an Arkansas ID?