I hate crystal meth.
I don't hate crystal meth for all the reasons I'm supposed to hate it, however. I don't hate it because it's ravaging the populations of the heartlands, or because it rots the teeth of longtime users, or because stupid, jittery people poison themselves or blow themselves up while trying to manufacture it, or because it's anti-drug hysteria's new black.
I think people should be able to put whatever they want into their own bodies, be it a nice filet served medium rare or a bullet, with the caveat that they take responsibility for whatever they do while it's in there. If somebody is dumb or weak enough to take a drug that everybody knows destroys lives and continues to take it until it does so, well, whose fucking fault is that? As Bill Maher famously said, if alcoholism's a disease, then we've all got it -- who doesn't want to be smashed every day by noon? I smoke and I drink, but you won't find my name in a class action lawsuit if I end up with lung cancer or cirrhosis, because I'm not someone who can rationalize away his own culpability -- which might be why I smoke and drink in the first place.
(And as far as drug addiction leading to crime goes, I won't even get into it, because folks who have never experienced drug culture firsthand simply refuse to believe the truth: that, given the millions of Americans who habitually-to-chronically use recreational drugs, the percentage per capita who commit a crime to get them is less than the percentage of straights who commit a crime for money, or of dunderheads who commit one for no reason at all.)
So no, I don't hate meth because it's eroding our society's moral fabric the same way it erodes a user's dentition.
I hate it because of the Methamphetamine Precursor Control Act.
Meth is cobbled together -- "cooked" -- from various readily available ingredients, the most important of which used to be the stimulant/appetite suppressant/decongestant ephedrine, until health dangers saw it yanked from drugstore shelves. It was replaced by the ostensibly less speedy 'n' dangerous pseudoephedrine; naturally, it took about 10 minutes for enterprising crankheads to figure out how to make meth out of that.
Well, a few years back, when the meth panic first reached a fever pitch (years after the drug had become an entrenched mainstay among, ironically enough, both lower-class suburban meatheads and affluent, hard-partying gay men), somebody suggested banning the sale of over-the-counter allergy medications and decongestants containing pseudoephedrine. This concept was actually entertained by some state legislatures -- apparently, anti-drug experts didn't know that meth has widely been made from other stimulating and/or poisonous household ingredients, such as bug spray -- before various, slightly less hysterical alternative measures began being signed into law all over the country last year.
Here in Florida, a measure recently went into effect wherein all over-the-counter tablets containing pseudoephedrine must literally be sold over the counter. You can't buy 'em off the shelf any more, but instead must present identification and sign a sales logbook at a pharmacy or sales counter in order to purchase such items as Sudafed, Claritin-D and their generic store-brand counterparts. And you can't buy more than 10 tablets at a time.
I'm allergic to almost everything. Cats, grass, pollen, cedar, you name it. In order to not be miserable and not spread that misery to everyone with whom I come into contact, I have to take allergy medication every day, particularly in the spring and fall. Claritin-D is about the only over-the-counter med I've found that actually works for any period of time; I particularly like it because the "D" is for "decongestant," and I like to be able to breathe as well as not sneeze and rub my eyes crimson and generally resemble a slobbery dog with a cold who's just peeled an onion.
Now I have to go to a Wal-Mart or CVS or whatever every 10 days, as opposed to buying a bottle of 50 or 100 tablets at one time and at a reduced price. I have to wait in line to explain to a pharmacy worker or checkout clerk that I'd like their generic version of Claritin-D; the checkout clerks generally have to bring four or five different boxes over, one at a time, before they hit upon what I'm talking about. Then, I have to take my drivers license out of my wallet, hand it over and watch them take down all my information in the logbook -- the logbook I must sign and that undoubtedly goes to some FDA or DEA office where all the names, including mine, are entered into some Anti-Methamphetamine Crackdown Watch List.
So am I saying that I hate crystal meth, a drug that's caused and is still causing untold damage to American families, courts, properties and individuals, because every 10 days I am inconvenienced to the tune of about 10 minutes?
Yes, I am.
I choose not to do meth, much less make it. I'm not a fucking criminal. I'm a guy with allergies, and I'd rather not have to write my name down on a piece of paper whose only purpose for existence is to attempt to catch people who will never, ever write their names down on it.
And that's the real point: It isn't going to work.
Which makes having to do it all the more infuriating.
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