Homeland Security Update

I went to the local CVS pharmacy the other day to get some cold medicine. Pseudoephedrine hydrochloride, best known under the brandname Sudafed (although, as always, much cheaper in the generic store brand), has long been the preferred over-the-counter decongestant agent. Unfortunately, it is also well known as one of the most widely available precursor agents to methamphetamines. To restrict access to the large quantities of pseudoephedrine that meth brewers need, the government has recently reclassified the drug. While it is still non-prescription, it is no longer “over the counter.” Instead, when buying pseudoephedrine products, one must actually produce a state or federal ID, which is then either scanned by a barcode reader or recorded in a log book. Yes, to buy cold medicine in the United States you are now subject to almost the same level of ID check as required for boarding an airplane.

On the other hand, and this will be of most interest to fans of HBO’s The Wire, pre-paid Verizon cell phones can be had entirely anonymously, with no ID check whatsoever, for roughly $70 cash.

4 thoughts on “Homeland Security Update”

  1. I am pretty disgusted with the fact that I am more or less being forced to change my habit of not carrying ID. Remember when being randomly asked for your papers was the stereotype of Fascist and Communist governments?

  2. Not sure I’d classify the Sudafed change as a “Homeland Security” issue, but a “war on drugs” one. That’s been the case for pseudoephedrine for a couple of years now. As one with frequent sinus problems, I still go through the hassle for the good stuff.

    I think you can also find AT&T “Go Phones” at Wal-Mart and similar places – cash and carry.

  3. There’s also a number of off-brand pre-paid cell phones in convenience stores, which I think mainly use network access bought at wholesale rates from Sprint.

    What I forgot to mention in my original post is that back in college, I could go to the campus health center’s pharmacy and get a bottle of 100 pseudoephedrine tablets for 3 bucks. Man, that was a deal. And you didn’t even need to show your student ID, much less your fucking driver’s license.

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