Writog? A writer-photographer. Citizen journalist. Unless indicated otherwise all content, text and images, here at www.writog.com (C) Copyright 2006 - 2017 Luke T. Bush

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Location: Plattsburgh, New York, United States

Writog: writer-photographer.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Big Brother Tracking Cough Syrup

Background: I have allergies and sometimes need to take a decongestant, pseudoephedrine, known by the brand name Sudafed.

As part of a Homeland Security bill, Congress made it harder customers to pick up this drug. It’s no longer OTC (over the counter) because it’s one the main ingredients used to manufacture meth. There a different formulation available over the counter (Sudafed PE) but to get the real stuff, you have to ask a pharmacist, show ID, and sign a form stating that the info about your purchase is available to law enforcement officials. Pharmacist as policeman.

Of course, this inconvenience means that there are no more meth labs; the scourge of this horrible drug has been eliminated by making law-abiding customers jump through a hoop.

So the other day I’m at a big box store and asked the pharmacist what he recommended in the way of OTC cough syrup. I had a lingering cold for days and the cough was getting worse. The friendly pharmacist recommended the DM formula.

I picked up a bottle and with some other items went to the front register. The young clerk said she needed to see my driver’s license. I asked why. She said because I was buying the cough syrup. She told me I had to take the ID out of my wallet so that she could scan it.

Once I had my ID scanned, I was allowed to buy the cough syrup.

I doubled back to the pharmacy and asked the druggist if my “processing” at the front counter was some sort of Homeland Security regulation.

He explained that the DM cough syrup could be abused; kids were known for glugging down a whole bottle to get high. The clerk was checking my driver’s license to verify my age. The pharmacist said he wouldn’t have ID’d me if I had purchased it from him. He didn’t have to explain the obvious reasons why he would’ve given me a pass.

If you’ve met me, you know I certainly don’t look younger than 18 years old. Besides my gray sideburns and the gray in the thinning mess on top of my head, I hadn’t shaved that day.

While I’m being hassled over cough syrup, some criminal is selling it by the ton in a back alleyway, bottles that “fell off the truck.”

And with Plattsburgh being one of the main way stations for drugs between New York City and Montreal, the younger-than-eighteen crowd can score better stuff easily on the street than kid stuff cough syrup.

So why am I being ID’d? What difference does it make, besides getting customers annoyed by the meaningless inconvenience?

See what happens when morons enact laws and regulations?


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