25 August 2009


I haven't been timid about professing my support for decriminalizing marijuana. I think cannabis should be regulated similarly to alcohol and tobacco. That doesn't mean I favor decriminalizing all drugs.
To wit, meth is some nasty, nasty shit. It's a bigger and longer high than crack. It's neurotoxic and highly addictive, but abusers are quickly desensitized to its effects, requiring larger doses. Meth makes abusers ultrahorny and irresponsible. Meth eventually makes some addicts monstrous — berserk and psychotic. The physical & mental deterioration of meth users begins quickly and much of it is largely irreversible.
The New York Times reports:
...drug users are making their own meth in small batches using a faster, cheaper and much simpler method with ingredients that can be carried in a knapsack and mixed on the run. The "shake-and-bake" approach has become popular because it requires a relatively small number of pills of the decongestant pseudoephedrine — an amount easily obtained under even the toughest anti-meth laws...
The new formula does away with the clutter of typical meth labs, and it can turn the back seat of a car or a bathroom stall into a makeshift drug factory. Some addicts have even made the drug while driving.
The pills are crushed, combined with some common household chemicals and then shaken in the soda bottle. No flame is required.
I concede I was pretty impressed by the resourcefulness. Then I learned it's a mod on an old German military field recipe. Apparently the Wehrmacht thought it was a great idea to dispense methamphetamine tablets to soldiers, and it's been alleged that Hitler took injections of crank every day. Knowing Hitler was a tweaker does kinda explain a lot, doesn't it? When the soldiers didn't get their regularly scheduled "Pervitin" pills, they didn't just quit — they found another way to get their fix, because that's what addicts do.
In a textbook example of The Law of Unintended Consequences, it was the "possession of precursors" laws that revived the older process. When sales restrictions were placed on over-the-counter pseudoephedrine decongestants, like most US manufacturing, about half of all US meth factories relocated to sunny Mexico, where there are few or no government restrictions on the means of production, and assloads of Sudafed are available to anyone with the purchase price, no questions asked. The precursor laws made it possible for arrests based on possession of meth ingredients, so cops didn't have to wait until there was actual meth produced. Result: more busts, higher prices and lower convenience.
The rediscovered DIY shake 'n' bake process requires less pseudoephedrine, and all the other ingredients are readily available at stores like Walmart.
It's safer than the traditional "red, white, and blue" process because it decreases the possibility of injury to the household and bystanders from explosions during production. The end product itself is no safer, being no less toxic, explosive or corrosive; but at least the possibility of harm is limited to the immediate area of the user, as opposed to the whole house, the ersatz daycare center, or half the motel.
I'm not sure how they'll be able to use precursor laws for this new process. What are they going to do? Bust you for possession of Sudafed, a cold pack, and an empty 2-liter bottle?
Actually, yeah. They probably will.

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