Monday, October 17, 2005

Guess I Won't Be Making Meth

I don't know how it is elsewhere in the country, but if reports are to be believed, crystal meth labs are popping up all over Tijuana and San Diego. In an effort to clamp down on this, the local powers that be have passed regulations limited the sale of one of the more common ingredients. Some pharmacies are keeping it behind the counter even though it is an OTC med. I am, of course, referring to that evil chemical, pseudo ephedrine...

I ran face first into the new policy last night as I stopped off to pick up some Nyquil and Dayquil as my cold has persisted for over a week and I have a major deadline. So, taking time off is not an option. Can't rest? Medicate! Nyquil at night. Dayquil in day. Duh! I wanted to go to Costco and just buy the mega pack of gel caps, but they were already closed, so I went to my local pharmacy chain. I had my choice of the 40 count pack for $15 or two 20 count packs of the store brand for a combined $10. A tough choice. So, I grabbed two generic night time and two eneric day time and headed off to pay.

Boop. Boop. Boop. Bzzzzzt! The clerk looked at the item and then at the readout. "Sorry, hon, but you are only allowed three of these." I blinked. I wasn't sure what the next move would be. "It's the new crystal meth restrictions," she elaborated. I laughed. "So, I could have bought ANY three products that had pseudofed in them, but no more?" She thought about this for a second and nodded.

I could have bought three packs of forty, but I can't by four packs of twenty. In the former, I am an upstanding citizen. In the latter, I am a drug trafficking suspect. Even better, I could have bought three of the hundred count bottles of pseudofed if I wanted. All of them contain the same amount of pseudo ephedrine per dose. I'd imagine the chemical process to extract the pseudo ephedrine would be easier with fewer ingredient involed. (B.O.B.?) Plus, I paid with a credit card that matched my photo ID. If I was a criminal drug lord, I'd want to make sure there was no paper trail. I'd pay cash.

Then, it got better. She could see I was sick and felt badly or me. She said, in full view of the customers, "I can't override the computer, but if you just come around and go back through the line again, it will let you do it." Excellent. So, if I was trying to make meth, I now knew a couple of ways around the system. I can either go out and come back in. Have a few friends with me and go to different checkout lines. Or, easiest of all, just go to each of the dozen pharmacies along the 1 mile stretch of main road. Buy three hundred count bottles of pseduofed at each stop. Then, fill up my tub and start extracting chemicals.

I love intelligent deterrents.